Healthy Pasta: Best and Worst Picks
If you’ve been trying to make healthier food choices, chances are you’ve tried making the switch to whole grain pasta. And while this is good in theory, the reality is that many of the seemingly healthy pastas are still loaded with refined, processed carbs. Read on to learn which brands are really better for you, and which ones are just marketed as if they are.
Black bean or edamame pasta
- Nutritional stats, per 2 ounces: 185 calories, 17 grams carbs, 12 grams fiber, 25 grams protein
- Ingredients include black beans or edamame
Banza chickpea pasta
- Nutritional stats, per 2 ounces: 190 calories, 32 grams carbs, 8 grams fiber, 14 grams protein
- Ingredients include chickpeas and pea protein
Modern Table lentil pasta
- Nutritional stats, per 2 ounces: 190 calories, 33 grams carb, 3 grams fiber, 14 grams protein.
- Ingredients include yellow, green or red lentil flour; may also contain soy or oat fiber
Spaghetti squash and spiralized zucchini
- Nutritional stats, per cup: 40 calories, 10 grams carb, 2 grams fiber
- Nutritional stats, per cup: 40 calories, 6 grams carb, 4 grams fiber
- Ingredients include tofu and yam flour
100% whole wheat pastas
- Products include Barilla Whole Grain, Great Value Whole Wheat, Gia Russa and Hodgson Mill
- Made with 100% whole durum wheat flour
- Nutritional stats, per 2 ounces: 200 calories, 40 grams carbs, 6 grams fiber, 8 grams protein
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Barilla Protein Plus
- Blend of white flour + legume & whole grain flours (lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed, barley, oats, spelt etc.)
- Nutritional stats, per 2 ounces: 190 calories, 38 grams carbs, 4 grams fiber,110 grams protein
- Ingredients include white flour, legume and whole grain flours (lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed, barley, oats, spelt)
The following products are lower in fiber and protein than the previously mentioned pastas.
- Ingredients include durum wheat semolina (white flour)
- Nutritional stats, per 2 ounces: 210 calories, 41 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams protein
“Veggie” pasta like Ronzoni Garden Delight and Luxury “Hidden Veggie” pasta
- The claim for some brands: “One serving of vegetables”
- The reality: More white flour than anything, with dried carrot, tomato and spinach for color
- Nutritional stats, per 2 ounces: 200 calories, 40 grams carb, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams protein
- The claim: only 5 grams digestible carbs per serving
- The reality: Main ingredient is white pasta flour (enriched semolina) with added isolated fibers (inulin, xanthan gum, pectin) and wheat gluten. It doesn’t provide same full-body benefits as real whole grains.
- Nutritional stats, per 2 ounces: 190 calories, 41 grams carb, 5 grams fiber, 7 grams protein
Editor’s note: Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples nor is she paid to recommend items. A version of this article originally appeared on WGNO’s “Get FUELED with Molly” segment.