Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Potatoes vs Rice vs Pasta: Which is better?

Today’s popular diets seem to be pro-protein and anti-carbohydrate (starch) but my regular diet has limited protein in that I do not eat large hunks of meat and I have eliminated only one carb source – wheat.  I really don't want to eliminate all carbohydrates from my diet.  So I decided to find out how my remaining carbohydrates stacked up in the calorie, nutrient and protein count.

I am trying to be wheat/gluten free and have experimented with replacing wheat pasta with alternative carbohydrates like potatoes, rice (brown and white) and pasta made with rice, corn or quinoa. I must confess that the LOML (Love Of My Life) dislikes brown rice so when cooking for the 2 of us I choose white rice. I usually cook more rice than needed for a particular meal and freeze the remainder of either shade in one-serving packets for later use.

Spaghetti sauce is great with potatoes, rice and alternative pastas (some wheat-free pastas are better than others but they are improving by leaps and bounds so I keep trying new products). Stroganoff without noodles is great on potatoes, rice and wheat-free pasta. Macaroni and cheese? The sauce is exceptional on baked potatoes but also lovely over rice and alternative pasta. And try adding blanched vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and mushrooms to the sauce. At home we boil up 2 pots of salted water – one for the wheat pasta and one for the wheat-free pasta. And we are careful to divide the sauce equally!

I originally thought that giving up wheat and gluten would be a great diet aid – no more wheat-based pastas, sandwiches or pizza – my favorites. Being wheat-free has definitely helped relieve me from a lot of stiffness and pain in my joints, but the diet part only worked for awhile, until every third person (or so it seems) on the planet became wheat-free, and delicious alternatives sprouted up all over the place. Now that I am finding more and more manufactured foods that are wheat-free and delicious I have to go back into “restrictive calorie intake mode” to keep from bulking up (i.e. gaining weight). 

So which carb – potato, rice, alternative pasta – is the best choice? For about a 1 cup serving I compared the protein value, carbohydrates, total calories, number of calories from fat, and the amount of dietary fiber, fat and cholesterol. Hands down, the potato wins. Just don’t slather it with butter and sour cream!

No comments:

Post a Comment