After Chinese food and Pizza, Pasta is the next “in” thing on the Indian plate. It’s classy, it’s “phoren”, it’s got a lot of variety and it’s yummy! In short, pasta has all the ingredients to be successful on any menu. But is it really good for your health?

To evaluate the health-quotient of any pasta dish, it is important to check for the following:

Is it made from whole wheat, semolina, rice, or white flour? Surely the whole wheat kind is the best for you. Whole wheat pasta has a lower Glycemic Index as compared to the other varieties. Lower glycemic index means that it will not shoot up your blood sugar levels, but will be absorbed slowly. So you will not feel hungry soon after.

Is it cooked in cheese or mayonnaise? Low fat sour cream and low fat yogurt are good alternatives to cheese and mayonnaise.

• Is there a modest sprinkling of colorful veggies, or has the restaurant been generous with vegetables? Naturally, more the vegetables, better is the dish for your health.

Does the dish contain chicken or meat that has been fried? Fried foods are duds as far as health goes. Pasta has no different story to tell!

Is it cooked “al dente”? Firm (al dente) pasta has a lower Glycemic Index as compared to soft pasta.

Pasta At A Fancy Restaurant Most people who like to eat out have ordered a pasta dish at some point. The pasta not only tastes great, but also looks great at the restaurants. But one needs to remember all the points given above. When placing your order, check with the waiter about the kind of pasta they use. You can also specify that you want a liberal addition of vegetables to your pasta. If you like dairy in your pasta, you can again specify that you prefer low fat versions.

Make Your Own Pasta Making pasta at home is not only economical but is also much better for your health. You get to decide what you want to add to the dish and what you wish to omit. One good thing you can do with pasta at home is to toss up a yummy pasta salad for yourself.

Pasta Salad

• Just boil some pasta al dente, and add to it fresh raw vegetables.

• Carrots, broccoli, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers go well with pastas.

• To add some protein to your pasta, add tofu or boiled soya chunks.

• Spice up your salad with a little paste made from half an onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic.

• To add more flavor, sprinkle fresh herbs like basil or parsley. Dried herbs like oregano and cilantro also help in spicing up a pasta salad.

Pasta doesn’t have to be bad, if you are vigilant about what goes into it and how it’s cooked. So be vigilant, be healthy!

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