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If you are like most people and think in order to control your weight you need to cut out pasta, then I have a pastarrific surprise!
 pastarrific surprise

Add Spaghetti Squash to Your Spaghetti

Since this blog is all about simple changes that are easy to make, rather than ask you to cut out pasta, (which I would consider hard for most people to do) I am only going to ask you to dilute it with vegetables.  Next time you make spaghetti, rather than pile your plate high with pasta, portion out only 1/2 the spaghetti you would normally eat, then make up the other half with spaghetti squash.
If you have never had spaghetti squash you are in for a treat.  It has a mild flavor and when cooked right an Al dente texture.  Not only does it taste great, but it will cut your calorie and carbohydrate intake way down.     By replacing 1 cup of spaghetti with 1 cup of spaghetti squash you will save about 180 calories.  Remember, 100 calorie deficit per day will equal a 10 pound weight loss in 1 year.  This switch could mean big results.
Total Carbs
1 Cup Spaghetti Pasta



1 Cup Spaghetti Squash



Ok, so it tastes good and it cuts calories but to make it even better it is easy to prepare.   I just pop it in the microwave while I’m boiling my pasta and cooking my sauce.

Microwave Preparation

Spaghetti squashAfter washing the outside of the spaghetti squash pierce it with a knife in about 5 different places.  Then microwave it on high for about 10-12 minutes, rotating and turning the squash 3 times during cooking, or until it gives when pressed on.  Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes.  Cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.   Run a fork along the inside from end to end and the pieces will come out in spaghetti like strands.

Oven Preparation

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  Cook on a baking sheet, cut side down, at 375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or until the outside gives when pressed on. Allow to cook just long enough to be able to handle the squash.  Run a fork along the inside from end to end and the pieces will come out in spaghetti like strands.
Diluting you pasta with vegetables can save you significant calories, however, don’t take the cut in calories as a license to eat more garlic bread.  Small permanent changes equal big results!
 First Image Courtesy of Suat Eman
Dina Garcia, RD, LDN
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