In our work with medical weight loss clients, we’re often asked to identify which foods are acceptable, and which ones are not. In particular, many clients love pasta and want to know whether their favorite dishes will fit into their nutrition plan.
First of all, it’s important to remember that identifying foods as either “good” or “bad” can often set us up for mindset of punishment and reward. You might begin to dread the “good” or healthy foods, and view the “bad” or extra-tasty ones as a reward of some type. At the same time, you might then feel guilty for indulging in the “bad” foods. This cycle can lead to binge eating or other unhealthy habits, and that’s why we discourage clients from assigning moral attributes to various dishes.
At the same time, obviously some foods are more nutritious than others. So we do want to encourage you to focus on those, while limiting portions of foods that offer little in the way of nutrition.
As for pasta, the whole grain options are rich in fiber, B vitamins, manganese, iron, and phosphorous. In moderation, whole grain pasta can offer some important nutrients.
But what about refined pasta? It’s lower in fiber and other nutrients, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever indulge. Pasta is heavy in carbohydrates, so the main key is to control portion sizes so that you aren’t throwing your ratios out of proportion. And because refined pasta isn’t very filling, it’s easy to overdo it. So make sure you pair your serving of pasta with some protein, so that you feel full longer and don’t trigger a blood sugar spike.
Finally, because many pastas are paired with heavy cream sauces, you might want to take it easy on those varieties. Enjoy a large salad first, and then pair a few bites of fettucine alfredo with a grilled chicken breast. By filling up on veggies first, you can enjoy a small serving of pasta without overshooting your caloric requirements for the day.
For more information on a medical weight loss plan, and how to fit your favorite foods into this strategy, call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you develop a nutrition plan that doesn’t deprive you of your favorite foods.