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Tasty noodle dishes that won't ruin your diet

October 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A two-ounce serving of most pasta is about 200 calories, and that's before you add sauce and other extras. But you can keep pasta on your plate and still lose weight if you know how to serve it up.

There are plenty of different varieties on the market these days, such as udon noodles, soba noodles, and rice noodles.

Dietician Alyse Levine said rice noodles - such as the ones offered by Thai Kitchen - are a bonus for those with gluten issues. But she does have a warning for consumers.

"Just because it's an alternative noodle variety doesn't mean you can eat unlimited amounts," said Levine.

For those without gluten sensitivity, Levine suggests whole grain types that offer more nutrients, fiber and protein. Enriched white flour, white rice types are packed with starchy carbs.

Singapore-raised Chef Mohan Ismail of RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen plans on living awhile and eats noodles daily, going with the Chinese folklore, the longer the noodle, the longer the life. His rule on choosing?

"It really depends on how fat I feel that day itself," he said.

Joking aside, he prefers chicken pho because it's a clean and easy dish that fills you up without guilt. It is made with fast-cooking rice noodles, poached chicken breast, veggies, and a chicken broth filled with spices like cinnamon.

Mapo egg noodles is another tasty option that can be served with ground chicken breast, a hoisin soy sauce, chicken stock, cilantro stems and a smattering of chili and sesame oil.

Finally, Ismeil's so-called longevity noodles are wok-heated with a variety of mushrooms, carrots, a bit of ginger, poached chicken breast, udon noodles, his favorite veggies and a homemade chili paste.

Keep in mind that a true serving of pasta or noodles is one cup. If it's a side dish, then it's just a half cup. So you want to put in a lot of filling extras to keep you feeling full on less calories.

"You want to stick to about a fist full of noodles and complement them with lots of vegetables and some lean proteins to balance it out," said Levine.