If your kid loves pasta, at least you can be sure that you’re raising a little human. If not, are you even a parent?
All jokes aside though, some kids dig the Italian staple so much, it’s practically all they’ll eat. Plain pasta. Pasta with cheese. Pasta with butter. For some kids, noodles are a food group on their own.
Parents of toddlers and picky eaters know all too well just how attached kids get to something their tiny tastebuds like. Try to get them to eat anything besides their beloved pasta, and they’ll fight you every nibble of the way.
So your kids loves pasta…and it’s okay, because:
According to research, it’s perfectly acceptable if your kid sticks to pasta as their staple food. Pasta like spaghetti, ravioli, and tortellini packs a nutritional punch when it comes to fibre, iron, vitamin E, and magnesium. Plus it also isn’t loaded with saturated fat, which is always welcoming news.
Of course, it makes sense that you’d want to bump up pasta in the nutritional department. And that’s what makes pasta so cool, because it can be a vehicle for healthy foods like (hidden) veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats like olive oil.
Tips for making pasta more nutritious
Opt for whole grain
If your kid loves pasta and won’t eat anything else, always give it to them in the whole grain version. You want to really buy into the highest quality carbs as far as possible before they even taste the watered-down, useless version. Whole grain pasta offer the most fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals by far. If your little human has a problem with gluten, opt for chickpea, lentil or brown-rice versions of their favourite pasta.
Sneak veggies into the pasta sauce
The taste of butter and salt are among the favourites for kids, but try your best to smuggle some veggies in there too. Sauces are a great way of hiding nutritious veggies in your kid’s meal. You can either make the sauce yourself some tomatoes and other veggies or look for versions that aren’t loaded with sugar and are lower in sodium.
Get them to try protein-packed pasta
Instead of offering your kid another bowl of plain noodles, get them to fill up properly by adding in some protein choices. Lean protein from sources like chicken, fish lean ground beef, and even beans or chickpeas can help ensure that your kid feels fuller and has a steady release of energy instead of a spike and then a crash in blood sugar.