It's one of the most popular and delicious meals you can make. Spaghetti with red sauce may be simple, but when it's made from fresh and healthy ingredients, it can be a nice addition to your diet. Here's how a plate of spaghetti can provide you with health benefits.
There are about 167 calories in a cup of pasta with tomato sauce, which means a bowl of simple spaghetti will have a bit over 200 calories.
Spaghetti Calories and Nutrition
Depending on what type of pasta and sauce you use, a plate of spaghetti can be made to fit a weight loss plan or diet. You can even make a meal that's high in nutrients and low in spaghetti calories if you make it right.
For example, one serving size of pasta with tomato sauce will have a little under 200 calories, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), though this may vary depending on the size of the bowl. This serving contains mostly carbohydrates with a little bit of protein and fat but can be used in a weight loss plan if you're combining it with exercise and a well-balanced diet.
Spaghetti calories may seem like empty carb fillers, but they actually contain a small amount of protein and fiber. The calories in pasta also depend a lot on what type of noodles you're buying, such as refined white pasta or whole-wheat pasta. Whole-wheat pasta in particular can be a great source of fiber, complex carbohydrates and even protein (1 cup of whole-wheat pasta contains nearly 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein).
A cup of canned tomato sauce also contain about 3 grams of protein, 3.7 grams of fiber and some vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Making Healthy Spaghetti Dishes
Italian food, especially the fresh, simple kind found in the countryside, may often fall under the category of the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet, which encompasses the type of cuisines found in countries situated along the Mediterranean Sea, is considered a healthy diet that can improve your heart and overall health, according to a February 2019 study published in Circulation Research.
This well-balanced diet is a big reason the calories in pasta don't deter Italians from eating these dishes. It's not so much the calories in pasta that make up this diet after all; it's the balance with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats like olive oil.
It's no surprise, then, that pasta with red sauce — despite seemingly being nothing but a big bowl of spaghetti calories and carbs — can actually be good for you. The secret lies in the nutrition of your fresh ingredients and your preparation.
Fresh tomato sauce, such as the kind you make at home, can be even better than many canned versions, as you can control the ingredients you put in. Luckily, fresh tomato sauces contain lycopene, a carotenoid with antioxidant abilities, according to Berkeley Wellness. Lycopene found in tomatoes has been linked to a lower cancer and stroke risk, according to Harvard Health.
And while spaghetti with red sauce may seem basic, its simplicity is what may contribute to why it's healthy for you. Fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, basil and a bit of salt and olive oil is often all you need to make a delicious tomato sauce. Adding in onions, bell peppers, mushrooms or spinach can increase your vegetable and nutrition count.
Finally, choose toppings like fresh parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper or olive oil to go along with your dish. Pair your plate of spaghetti with a salad or vegetables to make the meal more balanced.
- MyFoodData.com: "Nutrition Facts for Pasta With Tomato Sauce No Meat Canned"
- MyFoodData.com: "Nutrition Facts for Whole Wheat Pasta"
- MyFoodData.com: "Nutrition Facts for Tomato Sauce Canned No Salt Added"
- Circulation Research: "The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health"
- Berkeley Wellness: "Supermarket Buying Guide: Pasta Picking a Pasta Sauce"
- Harvard Health: "Lycopene-Rich Tomatoes Linked to Lower Stroke Risk"