I always have to remind my clients – carbs are not always the enemy! Carbs are fuel for your body (more so than protein) and you need them to power through your workouts. However, you still want to limit your carbs to 1 small serving 2-3 times a day with meals and try to chose complex carbs (whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc) vs. white pasta, white rice, etc. I love pasta and if I’m going to have it – I usually try to have it with lunch or a small portion (with some protein) for a mini meal during the day. You can definitely have it with dinner – but make sure you have a good protein source and don’t overdo it. Also, if you are having alcohol or wine with dinner – you should really try to keep your dinner mostly veggies and protein since alcohol is a carb.
I found a great spring recipe from Martha Stewart and tweaked it a little to make it a little healthier. I swapped the heavy cream for Greek yogurt and used whole wheat pasta. Add in grilled shrimp, chicken or fish to add some extra protein. You can have this cold (great for lunches) or hot.
Spring Pasta with Peas and Arugula
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 12 ounces farfalle pasta (use whole wheat to make healthier)
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen green peas
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (vs. heavy cream)
- 1/3 cup canned reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 bunch (5 ounces) arugula, tough stems removed, chopped (*you could also substitute kale!)
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; add peas 1 minute before end of cooking. Drain; return pasta and peas to pot.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine Greek yogurt and broth (you can add a small amount of milk if it’s too thick) on low to medium heat; simmer until thickened slightly, 2-4 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until melted.
- Add sauce to pasta and peas; toss to combine.
- Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat, shaking frequently, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add to pasta along with arugula; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.