Thursday, March 8, 2012

Italian Girl's attempt to stay healthy AND enjoy pasta!

For me to say that being Italian and being a person who tries to eat healthy is an easy combo, is truly a huge understatement!! Heck, being any nationality and trying to eat healthy is difficult...period!
But, I digress... 
I am Italian, and I do love pasta... to be honest, unless I am celebrating with our extended family, I hardly ever cook pasta! I try to stick with grilled chicken, fish, and healthy, low calorie items when choosing dinner options for my little team of four! 
With that said, I am also realistic... 
To be healthy and successful in any nutritional plan, routine, diet... whatever you want to call it, you have to allow yourself splurge nights, or meals/snacks that you enjoy, that may not be all healthy all the time!!! To me and for me, that is how I stay strong, by allowing myself the option to enjoy slightly less than healthy food items! Plus.. as a mom, I know my kids dig pasta, so I want to give them what they like from time to time - and share half their heritage's food with them!!
Here is how I go about mixing our Italian background, and still keep it as healthy as possible:
Spinach Ravioli with sauteed green beans and fresh mushrooms!

The highest calorie item on my plate is obviously the ravioli... but that is ok since I am serving it with fresh veggies!! Pairing good and not so good is the way to go about mixing in your favorite food items when you are trying to be on a healthy diet!!
I got the raviolis in the frozen section in my fav store Aldi!
Compared to meat, mushroom or sausage ravioli, choosing spinach is a good compromise for less calories! Plus, I only put a portion of the serving size on my plate, choosing not to indulge in the calories a full serving brings!

Next I tried out a veggie sauce... and even tho I am Italian, I am not that good of a cook to make my own sauce (forgive me Nani) but I just didn't take the time to put it all together! 
So I went with this..
Very low calories, and low sodium... plus if you look at my plate, I did not cover all the ravioli or over do the sauce!! A little bit did the trick to add flavor and to keep the calories low!!
To spruce up the veggies for our side, I sauteed them in a bit of virgin olive olive and minced garlic..

I love the way the house smelled with all of these scrumious dishes cooking... brings back great childhood memories :)
Nothing better than the smell of sauce (or zugu as we call it) cooking!

So... there you have it! A splurge meal, me embracing my love of Italian food, all done together while keeping my calories for the meal at or under 600!!! A win/win in my opinion!!! 
It was fun to see my kids faces when I served pasta and get the 'what, we aren't at Nani's' look!?!! 
Even a healthy eater can enjoy pasta :))

Always - Abbey

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