Cooler weather means the beginning of the holiday season. For some of us, it might also trigger cravings for our favorite comfort foods. As medical weight loss experts, we are often asked how certain foods fit into a healthy eating plan. In particular, many clients want to know if pasta is now off-limits.
First, let’s back up and talk about classifying foods as “good” or “bad”. This is generally not a good idea, because of the psychology behind food behavior. Once we identify a food as “good for us”, we tend to assume it tastes bad and we won’t enjoy it. Those foods seem like a punishment (for skipping exercise, eating off-limits foods, or simply for being overweight). Of course we don’t look forward to eating them!
Likewise, when we classify foods as “bad”, we view them as a temptation. We want them even more, but then we punish ourselves for eating them. That punishment might involve “good” foods, perpetuating the cycle, or might include exercise which now extends the feeling of punishment to activity. We obviously don’t want to do that.
So primarily, we want to remind you that assigning moral characteristics to foods will do more harm than good.
But now on to the question of pasta: Can it be part of your medical weight loss plan? After all, some foods are simply more nutritious than others.
Since pasta is a carb-heavy food, no, you don’t want to indulge in large portions. But a small portion paired with protein is certainly acceptable.
If you opt for whole-grain pasta, you can pack more nutrition into your daily eating plan. Whole grain options include fiber, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and B vitamins. A reasonable portion of whole grain pasta can fulfill some important nutritional requirements.
Of course, what’s pasta without the sauce? You’ll definitely want to take it easy on heavy, cream-based sauces. Start with a filling salad, then pair a small serving of your favorite pasta and sauce with a protein source that meets your daily RDA. You can enjoy this nutritious meal without sabotaging your caloric tally.
For more information on how your favorite foods fit into a medical weight loss plan, call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you lose weight, develop a healthy attitude toward food, and enjoy learning about nutritious options that fit into your new eating regimen.