I grew up attending MANY of these dinners!
From the garlic cheese bread…unlimited meat balls…and you can not forget to mention the variety of desserts that have been offered!
Today, I am going to share some tips on how to make your next Spaghetti Sunday (or Monday…Tuesday…or whatever day of the week!)
Change your pasta!
Have you ever considered using a different types of noodles? One of the best options you can try is whole wheat pasta! It should not cost you any more (and if it does it should not cost you too much more) to buy whole wheat noodles. I know that my local grocery store now carries many different types of whole wheat pasta noodles! From angel hair pasta to linguine noodles. I have even found bow tie noodles as well as elbow shaped noodles! You can find any traditional noodle in the whole wheat option. NOTE: there should be two options at your store. There is WHOLE WHEAT and WHOLE GRAIN pasta. Both are better for you than the regular flour pasta options. They have more fiber and they overall have more nutritional benefits. The only difference it that whole wheat is made of the whole wheat grain. The Whole grain option is made with the whole grain. HERE is a great article that can explain it better to you.
Change your meat!
I know that some families add meat to their pasta sauce to make the spaghetti more filling. Most people use regular beef. BUT have you ever considered using 98% lean beef? Or how about ground turkey? Or maybe even consider ground chicken? All of those are a healthier and leaner option than regular ground beef.
Watch your sauce!
Regular tomato sauce is the best option for your family spaghetti meals. Creamy sauces have more ingredients which result in more calories. As a golden rule in eating healthy…try to stay away from sauces (and even salad dressings) that are creamy and thick! Those option pack more calories and are not as healthy for you. Also, try to find low sodium sauces to help cut back on the sodium intake for that meal.
Watch your portion sizes!
One of the top problems with weight gain is consuming more calories than you should during your meal! Try to portion out the correct sizes of pasta, sauce, and anything else you serve during the meal to help your family realize the importance of correct portion sizes. I know how easy it is to pile on the pasta and drown it in sauce! But, preparing your plate that way puts 3…4…or even MORE portion sizes than you should be consuming during that meal.
Watch how much bread you make!
Garlic bread is a staple product with spaghetti meals! And yes it is OK to have them with your meal! BUT here are a few tips to make your bread serving a little better
Try having whole wheat bread instead of the regular white flour bread. This is the healthier options for bread and can also help cut back the calories. Also, do not use as much butter!!! Try using olive oil or an olive oil spray to lightly spray the tops of the bread to allow them to get brown. Try using a low sodium garlic seasoning to help add the desired flavor for your bread. And last but not least, do not forget to create the right portion sizes of bread that you hand out at the dinner table.
Don’t forget the sides!!
Lastly, you can not forget to have some healthy side options available to have with your meal. You can try things like spinach, green beans, peas, corn, squash, small side salads….or practically anything else you and your family would like. I always suggest having two side options to go with your pasta and bread. This will allow for a more well-rounded meal, and the change to get other needed nutrients in their meal.
Dessert can be fun and low-calorie as well! Try making jello or a low-calorie pudding (with a dollop of whip cream!) There are dozens of inexpensive and low-calorie dessert options for you to cook for dessert!
I hope that these tips were helpful! There is always many different things you can alter to help make your weekly family meals a healthier meal option!