Pasta is a favorite dish of many, but has its downfalls. That being said, popular culture has recently portrayed pasta dishes as a surefire way to pack on the pounds. This can be seen especially in the Adkins diet, which severely restricts carbohydrate intake. Pasta does not deserve the bad reputation it has received, and as with most anything, can be enjoyed in moderation. You can eat pasta while dieting.
Moderation is key to not overindulging. If you are preparing and dining at your own home this can be done easily. Carefully read the label and determine what one serving size of pasta actually is. This varies from pasta type and brand. Also, note if the serving size is referring to dry or cooked pasta. Pasta expands greatly after being cooked. If you are dining out, it can be much harder to judge what a serving size of pasta is.
If you know your dining destination beforehand, take the time to look up nutritional information on the website. If it is not possible to research your meal ahead of time, some restaurants even offer nutritional information on their meals when asked. Carefully watch your consumption. If you have a hard time judging portion control, or lack the self control to stop eating, ask for half of the meal to be boxed up prior to serving. When you receive your meal you will probably still be overwhelmed at the large portion size.
Besides portion sizes, there are many ways you can make your pasta dish much healthier. Try switching out your regular pasta for a whole grain version. I have personally have had great experience using Barilla Whole Grain pasta. It may take a few attempts at different brands and cooking times to find a type the suites you.
One of the best ways to make your pasta dish healthier is to include a large amount of vegetables. The more vegetables in your dish, the less pasta you will consume. Ways to include vegetables include cooking them with the sauce, steaming the vegetables first or stir frying them in healthy oil. Experiment with different vegetables, and try new varieties. You may be surprised at some uncommon combinations that you like.
Finally, watch the fat content of your dish. Heavy sauces can contain high amount of fat. Learn that a little goes a long way. Dairy can be a major culprit. Not only are heavy sauces often time creamy because of dairy, but pasta can be heavily topped with cheese.