A Healthier Bowl of Pasta

Whole-grain and higher-fiber pastas are healthier. But how do they taste?

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

It's brown, and it sometimes feels like it's biting you back when you bite into it. It comes in many shapes and types. It can single-handedly boost the fiber and nutrients in any meal that features it. It's whole-grain or high-fiber pasta, and it's coming to a supermarket near you (if it's not there already)!

You know you're onto something when a major brand jumps on the bandwagon, right? Well, not too long ago, Barilla (which is as much fun to say with an Italian accent as it is to eat) came out with a higher-fiber line of pasta, Barilla Plus.

But do these new healthier pastas pass the taste test?

Well, pasta (like most foods) is all about three things: color, flavor, and texture. Most Americans are used to white, tender, pleasantly neutral-tasting pasta. Not everyone is going to eat 100% whole-wheat pasta and love it. But there are options out there.

Barilla Plus is the brand I think is most similar in look and feel to white-flour pasta. This company was definitely thinking outside the pasta box when they formulated this new product. They added a grain and legume flour blend that includes lentils, chickpeas, egg whites, spelt, barley, flaxseed, oat fiber and oats. The egg whites and the legumes boost the protein, the barley and oats boost the soluble fiber, and the flaxseed provides some healthy plant omega-3s.