Pasta and Health Recommendations

With the new emphasis on diet and health, the government and many health organizations suggest reducing fat intake to a maximum 30 percent of total calories. You see, right now many Americans consume an average of nearly 40 percent of their calories in fat, but the latest guidelines point out that controlling not only the amount... but the type of fat... is also important.
Bite Into Good Health
Savvy consumers recognize changing eating habits can improve health. First, saturated fats are replaced with unsaturated fats-like olive oil, that are high in desired monounsaturates. The next step-reduce overall fat and cholesterol consumption.
Some Fat Is Good
But don't be fooled into eliminating fat from your diet. Some is needed for a healthy body and is necessary to carry vitamins like A, D, E and K, and provide a source of concentrated energy. It also supplies a feeling of fullness after eating a meal. Nutritionists suggest consuming a maximum of 30 percent of your total calories from fat each day.
Eat More Rice, Pasta, Dried Beans, Vegetables and Fruits
When deciding your menu, keep total grams of fat-especially the saturated type-to a minimum and concentrate your calories on complex carbohydrates instead. Remember this rule: It's not the amount of fat in an individual food-or even a meal-that matters; the total amount of fat consumed each day is what's important.  

Pasta with Roasted Garden Vegetables


Serves: 4


  • 1 each red, green and yellow bell pepper, quartered, seeds removed and cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
  • 2 red onions, cut into 1/2-inch wide wedges
  • 2 yellow squash, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 small eggplant (about 10 ounces) trimmed, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces penne, radiatori or other pasta shape
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Spread vegetables in a large roasting pan; add olive oil; toss to coat. Bake, turning often, until browned and tender, about 40 min. Add half of parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until cooked to taste. Ladle out 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid; reserve. Drain pasta.

In serving bowl toss pasta with half the vegetables, cooking liquid and cheese. Spoon remaining vegetables and parsley on top.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Calories: 514
Calories from Fat: 146
Protein: 14 g
Carbohydrates: 80 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g
Cholesterol: 1 mg
Sodium: 46 mg


Baked Rice Stuffed Eggplant


Serves: 4


  • 2 small Italian eggplants, about 8 ounces each
  • 2 teaspoons classico olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ham
  • 1 tablespoon pignoli (pine nuts)
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 plum tomato, halved, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Score cut side at 1/2-inch intervals, brush lightly with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and place cut side down on baking sheet. Bake until browned and eggplant is tender when pierced with skewer, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile combine the onion and remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Cook, stirring until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, tomato, ham, pignoli, parsley and salt and pepper until blended. Remove from heat.

Using a spoon carefully remove the eggplant flesh leaving a 1/2-inch thick shell intact. Chop the flesh and add to the rice mixture. Pack the rice mixture into the scooped out eggplant shells. Sprinkle with the parmesan. Arrange on baking sheet, cover lightly with foil and bake 20 minutes. Unccover and bake until tops are browned, about 10 minutes more.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Calories: 143
Calories from Fat: 37
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Sodium: 43 mg


Provided by Bertolli Nutrition Center

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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