- In response to dietary guidance urging Americans to include more whole grains in their diets, manufacturers have introduced nutritionally enhanced pasta varieties such as whole wheat, whole grain and pasta fortified with omega-3 fatty acids and additional fiber. Some varieties of whole grain pasta can provide up to 25% of daily fiber requirements in every one cup portion. There are now more options than ever for consumers to enjoy healthy and economical meals the whole family will love.
- Pasta is the perfect foundation for a healthy, delicious and satisfying meal. As an ideal “delivery system” for other nutritious foods, pasta meals can easily become nutritional all-stars. (Be sure to keep an eye on portion sizes to keep calories at bay. A one-cup serving of cooked pasta is roughly the size of your fist).
- Overly-restricted diets take the joy out of eating. With so many options for building lower calorie, nutrient-rich pasta meals, you’ll never get bored or feel limited while eating pasta.
- Avoiding or limiting carbohydrates can leave you feeling sluggish, tired and unable to concentrate. Complex carbohydrates like pasta provides the optimum type of “fuel” to power your muscles and brain, as it is digested more slowly, it provides a slower release of energy to keep you going throughout the day.
- Pasta is an ideal partner for other nutritious foods that are essential to a healthy diet. It’s great to pair with fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein-packed, poultry and lean meats.
Find more information about the nutrition of pasta and how it fits into your lifestyle.
When making delicious and healthy pasta dishes, be sure to choose a pasta shape and sauce that complement each other.
Pasta in History
- Popular legend has it that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy following his exploration of the Far East in the late 13th century; however, we can trace pasta back as far as the fourth century B.C., where an Etruscan tomb showed a group of natives making what appears to be pasta.
- The Chinese were making a noodle-like food as early as 3000 B.C. And Greek mythology suggests that the Greek God Vulcan invented a device that made strings of dough (the first spaghetti!).
- Pasta made its way to the New World through the English, who discovered it while touring Italy. Colonists brought to America the English practice of cooking noodles at least one half hour, then smothering them with cream sauce and cheese.
- Thomas Jefferson is credited with bringing the first “macaroni” machine to America in 1789 when he returned home after serving as ambassador to France.
- The first industrial pasta factory in America was built in Brooklyn in 1848 by, of all people, a Frenchman, who spread his spaghetti strands on the roof to dry in the sunshine.
Pasta Facts & Figures
- The average American consumes 20 lbs. of pasta annually. This makes it the 6th highest food per capita in the country.
- As of March 2012, the average price an American pays for pasta is $1.45 per pound! This makes it one of the most affordable meals.
- 24% of the global consumption of pasta is by Americans – the largest of any country in the world. Americans consume 6 billion pounds of pasta each year.
- The United States produces 4.4 billion pounds of pasta annually, making it the second largest pasta-producing nation.
- You can enjoy pasta on any budget, and thanks to its incredible versatility, you can have a different and delicious low-cost meal every day of the week.
- Keeping pantry staples like dry pasta on hand is always helpful, especially for those days when the cupboard is a bit bare. No need for pricey takeout! It’s easy to make a delicious, healthy meal in minutes that will satisfy your whole family.