Are you on the lookout for a healthier pasta option that doesn’t compromise on taste? I recently stumbled upon Banza Rotini during a Costco shopping spree, and its promise of 25% fewer net carbs than traditional pasta, along with added fiber and protein, piqued my curiosity. As someone who isn’t a regular pasta enthusiast due to its high carb content, I was intrigued by the idea of a pasta alternative that could offer both versatility and nutrition, making it an ideal candidate for quick and easy meals. (P.S. If you’re into discovering low-carb gems at Costco like I am, check out my other Costco finds.)
To my delight, Banza proved to be a game-changer! It seamlessly fit into my favorite casserole recipe, and what’s more, it didn’t send my blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride. As an insulin pump user, I calculated the carbs and adjusted my bolus accordingly, and Banza came through with flying colors. Thanks to its fiber and protein content, which are known to have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, I found that even though this product still contains a fair share of carbohydrates, it worked surprisingly well for me.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a Costco nearby or if it doesn’t stock Banza; you can conveniently purchase Banza pasta on Amazon too!
Nutrition Facts for Banza Chickpea Pasta
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are not only versatile and delicious but also offer a range of health benefits. They are the main ingredient in hummus, which is one of my top recommended foods for anyone following a soft food diabetes diet.
These small legumes have been a staple in many cuisines around the world for centuries. Here are some of the notable health benefits of chickpeas:
- Rich in Nutrients: Chickpeas are packed with essential nutrients. They are a great source of plant-based protein, providing about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamins (such as folate and vitamin B6), minerals (like iron, magnesium, and potassium), and antioxidants.
- Support Digestive Health: The high fiber content in chickpeas promotes healthy digestion. It helps prevent constipation and supports regular bowel movements. Additionally, the fiber acts as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is crucial for a healthy digestive system.
- Manage Blood Sugar Levels: Chickpeas have a low glycemic index, which means they don’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. The complex carbohydrates and fiber in chickpeas help regulate blood glucose levels and prevent insulin spikes. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
- Heart-Healthy: Chickpeas are an excellent addition to a heart-healthy diet. Their high fiber and low-fat content contribute to reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. The presence of antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols, further support heart health by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Weight Management: As a nutrient-dense food, chickpeas can aid in weight management. The combination of protein and fiber promotes a feeling of fullness, reducing overall calorie intake. The slow digestion of chickpeas also helps control hunger and prevent excessive snacking between meals.
- Boosted Nutrition for Vegetarians and Vegans: Chickpeas are a significant source of plant-based protein for individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets. Including chickpeas in your meals helps ensure an adequate intake of protein, essential amino acids, and other vital nutrients typically found in animal-based products.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The antioxidants present in chickpeas, such as flavonoids and phytonutrients, possess anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of chickpeas may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with inflammation, including certain types of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
- Support Bone Health: Chickpeas contain important minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. These minerals contribute to maintaining strong and healthy bones. Including chickpeas in your diet can be beneficial for promoting bone health and reducing the risk of conditions like osteoporosis.
Incorporating chickpeas into your diet can provide a range of health benefits. Whether enjoyed in salads, soups, stews, or as a base for hummus, their nutritional profile makes them a valuable addition to a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet.
Cooking a Casserole for Easy Home Cooked Meal
Casseroles are one of my favorite go-to options for a satisfying and comforting home-cooked meal. These versatile dishes not only provide a delicious and filling experience, but they also make excellent use of leftovers, ensuring that nothing goes to waste. One classic casserole that exemplifies this is the Tuna Noodle Casserole.
Tuna Noodle Casserole: A Comforting Family Favorite
The Tuna Noodle Casserole is a timeless recipe that brings warmth and nostalgia to the table. This dish combines tender noodles, hearty tuna, a creamy sauce, and a crispy topping, creating a harmonious balance of flavors and textures. It’s a true comfort food that the whole family can enjoy.
One of the greatest advantages of making a casserole like Tuna Noodle Casserole is its simplicity. With just a few basic ingredients, you can create a satisfying and wholesome meal that will please even the pickiest eaters. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftovers, such as cooked noodles or canned tuna.
I followed this Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe, but altered it based on what I had available.
Leftovers and Family-Friendly Meals
Having leftovers can be a blessing when it comes to feeding your family. Casseroles are an excellent choice for using up those extra ingredients and creating a whole new meal. Leftover cooked noodles, vegetables, meats, or even sauces can be easily incorporated into a flavorful casserole.
By repurposing leftovers into a casserole, you not only save time but also reduce food waste. This is not only budget-friendly but also environmentally conscious. With a little creativity, you can transform those odds and ends into a delicious and satisfying meal that the whole family will love.
Casseroles are also great for feeding a crowd or for prepping ahead of time. You can make a big batch and portion it out for future meals. They can be easily reheated, making them a convenient option for busy weekdays or when you simply don’t have the time or energy to cook a full meal from scratch.
Dinner’s in the Oven!
As you can see in the above photo, I print out recipes from online websites and then make notes on what changes I make. I use sheet protectors to keep the recipe clean from kitchen messes, and then create a binder of my favorite recipes.
About the Author
Lin May has a decade of experience living with LADA diabetes and is the author of Success with LADA Diabetes: Achieving Optimal Health with Diet, Exercise, and Insulin. She is dedicated to helping others learn about diabetes.