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Low Calorie Substitutions for High Calorie Cravings: Pasta with Bacon and Cheese

Jun 29, 2010

Many people struggle to find low calorie substitutes for pasta with bacon and cheese. It’s unfortunate, because combining pasta with bacon and cheese is like mixing up heart disease on a plate. With substitutes, you can simulate the taste of the dish, and it’ll only cost you a fraction of the fat and calories.

Surprisingly, you can easily swap low calorie foods for the bacon and cheese. The real trouble is substituting for the pasta. One cup of white spaghetti contains 221 calories and 43g of carbohydrates. Whole wheat pasta contains more fiber, but it still packs in the calories. One cup of whole wheat spaghetti contains 174 calories and 37g of carbohydrates. It’s not that you should never eat whole wheat pasta. Rather, it’s not something you should eat often, especially when you’re trying to trim calories from your diet.

Tofu Shirataki Noodles

Tofu shirataki might take some getting used to, but these noodles might be the easiest way to trim hundreds of calories from the dish. Tofu shirataki contains only 20 calories and 3g of carbohydrates per 4 oz serving. But, before you stock up, you should prepare yourself for the texture and taste of tofu shirataki. Tofu shirataki is nearly unpalatable straight out of the package due to its natural fish-like odor and slimy texture. Before eating, you should thoroughly rinse, dry and microwave the noodles for a minute to remove its odor and improve its texture.

Low Calorie Bacon

Turkey bacon is probably the best substitute because it’s low calorie. Most turkey bacons contain 20 to 35 calories, 2 to 3g of protein and 3g of fat or less. Remember to avoid frying the bacon in oil. Instead, cook the bacon with a little bit of nonstick cooking spray. To save even more calories, you could leave out the bacon entirely and instead enhance the dish with the flavor of bacon. One option is bacon salt, which is calorie-free, fat-free and even vegetarian-friendly. Another option is imitation bacon bits, which usually contain 30 calories, 1.5g of fat and 3g of protein per tablespoon. Most imitation bacon bits are also vegetarian.

Low Calorie Cheese

You can easily substitute the cheese with a low calorie reduced fat or fat-free cheese product. The best substitute is probably spreadable light cheese wedges because they’re cheesy, flavorful and low calorie. The most popular and readily available brand is Laughing Cow. One wedge is plenty for an entire dish, and it’ll only cost you 35 calories and 2g of fat. You can find spreadable light cheese wedges in several flavors, including Swiss, mozzarella and blue cheese. Alternatively, you could also use a slice of reduced fat or fat-free American cheese. One slice of reduced fat or 2 percent milk cheese contains 50 calories and 3g of fat. The statistics for fat-free cheese are better, but fat-free cheese is less cheese-like than reduced fat cheese. One slice of fat-free cheese contains a mere 30 calories and 0g of fat.

If you choose to eat real pasta, try whole wheat pasta and remember to control your portion size.

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