How Many Calories in Pasta?

Pasta can be a sensible or indulgent meal, depending on the serving size, type of pasta and amount of sauce you use. You can keep your pasta within your desired calorie range by eating it in moderation and choosing balanced toppings.

A 2 oz. serving of pasta contains about 90 calories and a 1/2 g of fat. It also has 17.5 g carbohydrates, 3.3 g protein, 25.5 mg potassium and no cholesterol.

Using whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta adds fiber to the meal. Switching to primarily whole grains -- such as whole wheat pasta, can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and may help control diabetes.

A 1/2 cup of jarred marinara spaghetti sauce may contain approximately 71 calories, according to FitDay. A 1/2 cup of Alfredo sauce, on the other hand, may contain 500 calories. Topping your pasta with a small amount of olive oil and fresh sauteed vegetables is a low-calorie way to add fiber, taste and vitamins to your bowl of pasta.

How Many Calories Are There in Pasta With Napoletana Sauce?

Pasta served with Napoletana sauce, which is a sauce made from tomatoes, tomato paste, onions and garlic with a small amount of sugar, can make a hearty meal. The calories in pasta and Napoletana sauce can help you meet your daily nutritional goals.

A 3 oz. serving of pasta with 150 g of Napoletana sauce contains 265 to 306 calories. Based on a 2,000-calorie meal plan, this accounts for 13.2 percent to 15.3 percent of the calories you should consume daily. This amount may vary depending on the ingredients in the sauce and any additions, including cheese.

The calories in a pasta with Napoletana sauce come primarily from carbohydrates. A 3 oz. serving of pasta with 150 g of sauce provides you with 50 to 50.6 g of this nutrient, or approximately 38 percent of the 130 g recommended for daily consumption by the Institute of Medicine. This serving also contains 9 to 9.4 g of protein and 2 to 8.2 g of fat.

While pasta noodles generally do not contain sodium, Napoletana sauce does. A 150 g serving has 200 to 828 mg, and the American Heart Association recommends limiting your daily salt intake to 1,500 mg. Consider choosing a low-sodium variety of Napoletana sauce if you are monitoring your sodium intake.

Nutritional Information for Baked Pasta

Baked pasta dishes can run the gamut from gooey lasagna, to baked whole grain pasta with vegetables, to anything in between. The nutritional information for your pasta depends on the type of pasta you use and what you top your noodles with. If you are cooking, try to substitute lower-fat ingredients where possible and desired, and if you are eating out, ask your server for the nutritional information to avoid consuming more calories and fat grams than you had planned.

The more cheese a baked pasta dish contains, the more calories, cholesterol and fat grams it may have. Baked pasta prepared in restaurants often contains large amounts of sodium. A baked pasta containing meat and cheese from a popular pizza restaurant contains 860 calories, 35 g fat, 105 g cholesterol and 2,990 g sodium. A baked pasta dish contains spinach, broccoli and mushrooms, and contains 380 calories, 15 g fat, 80 g cholesterol and 514 g sodium.

Enriched pasta is a good source of complex carbohydrates and various vitamins and minerals, including iron. Because they are high in carbohydrates, they can give you energy. Using whole grain pasta boosts the fiber content of the dish. The cheese in most baked pasta dishes provides protein and calcium. Vegetables in the dish can provide you with several different vitamins and minerals.

Baked pasta dishes tend to be high in fat and sodium, which can lead to health problems such as obesity or high blood pressure. They also may be high in cholesterol, and may provide you with too many calories. If you are watching your weight, eating baked pasta dishes too often may make it hard to lose or even maintain your weight.

Use whole wheat pasta in place of white pasta for more nutrition. Choose recipes that use moderate amounts of cheese, or simply reduce the amount of cheese that you put into the dish. Another option is to use reduced-fat dairy products whenever possible. Add flavor by including vegetables, including tomatoes, garlic, onions, broccoli, mushrooms and spinach. Watch your portion sizes to avoid ingesting too many calories; serve the baked pasta as a side dish instead of as an entree, or serve alongside a fresh green salad.

MedlinePlus warns against consuming too much saturated fat, which baked pasta dishes often contain in excess. Eating too much saturated fat can lead to high cholesterol, which in turn can lead to heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. It can also cause obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease and certain cancers. Eat dishes containing large amounts of fat sparingly and only occasionally.

How to Make Healthier Pastas?

Pasta is a quick, convenient and satisfying meal option, but it isn't always healthy. Many pasta dishes call for cream-, butter- and cheese-filled sauces, and it's easy to eat portions larger than recommended. If you like pasta but want to watch what you eat, revamp your favorite recipes to make them more filling and nutritious without adding calories or fat. With a few ingredient substitutions and additions, you can still enjoy pasta while fueling your body with healthy nutrients.

Things you will need

  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Zucchini
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Ricotta cheese

Step 1
Substitute your regular pasta with whole-wheat pasta. Whole-wheat pasta contains fewer calories per serving and over twice the fiber content to keep you feeling full longer.

Step 2
Practice portion control when preparing pasta. A single serving is only 1/2 cup, not the 2 to 3 cups you may see in front of you at an Italian restaurant.

Step 3
Cut a spaghetti squash in half and bake it, cut side down, in a 400-degree oven for one hour. Scoop out the stringy insides into your cooked pasta to add bulk and fiber without as many calories. You can also peel zucchini into long strips and add them to the pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking.

Step 4
Top your pasta with a low-fat tomato-based sauce instead of cream- or cheese-based sauces. Add a creamy element by mixing in a scoop of fat-free ricotta cheese before serving.

Step 5
Make meatballs with ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. Add protein to your pasta by topping it with grilled salmon, shrimp or chicken.

- Avoid the temptation to overeat by putting a single pasta serving on your plate and immediately storing the rest in single-serving containers in your refrigerator or freezer for a later meal. Making your own pasta sauce gives you more control over the ingredients and nutritional value of the finished product.
- The proper pasta serving size for diabetics is 1/3 cup.

4 Ways To Choose Lower Carb Pastas

1. Learn To Love Your Low-Carb Pastas
You don't have to be Italian to love pasta. However, our beloved pastas have taken a big hit with the popularity of the high-protein, low-carb diets, such as South Beach and Atkins. To bring pasta back into our diets, the low-carb versions of pasta are becoming more available. These become low-carb by replacing the standard semolina flour used to make pastas with the healthier soy flour. These still have carbohydrates, but the gram count goes from approximately 41 grams per serving of standard pasta down to 31 grams in the low-carb version. Some low-carb pastas have increased the fiber content 2 grams, making the "net carbs" in a serving to be 19.

2. Shop, Look And Read Your Pasta Labels
Look for brands that make the low-carb pastas like Dreamfields, Atkins, Barilla and Keto. These will cost more than the traditional pastas, but the health benefits make up for the price difference. The low-carb versions have many of the standard pasta types, like spaghetti, lasagna, pennes and elbow macaroni. Read the labels and compare what your specific wants are in a low-carb pasta. Generally, the lower the carbs, the lower the gylcemic index, which reduces the amount of glucose made by the body.

3. Low-carb Pasta Doesn't Mean All You Can Eat
Choosing low-carb pastas is a healthy choice as long as you eat the same or less in portion sizes. Many people on low-carb diets go wrong by thinking they can eat more because they're eating low carb, so stick to the same or smaller serving sizes. Don't sabotage your low carb pastas by covering them in heavy cream or fatty meat sauces that add many more calories and carbohydrates to your meal. Choose toppings for your low-fat pasta that include steamed vegetables and tomato sauces to compliment your low-carb pasta. Remember that low carb doesn't mean "no carb."

4. Low-carb Pasta Impersonator Is A Vegetable
Sometimes the family cook has to "secretly" lower the pasta carbs for the health benefits of the family. So, when the actual low-carb pastas aren't low enough, substitute those with pasta impersonators like spaghetti squash. It has less than 25 percent of the calories and carbohydrates that standard pastas have, plus it's loaded with healthy nutrients. Just top it with the family's favorite sauce. Other vegetables make great pasta impersonators, such as eggplant strips, zucchini or cauliflower. Try the Asian or Shirataki noodles. These very healthy noodles are made from plants and come liquid packaged. Just rinse them with hot water, and it's time to eat. They're mostly fiber, almost without calories and carbohydrates and have proved beneficial in lowering cholesterol and blood sugars.

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