This just in: healthy noodles are all the rage right now. Variations of healthy noodles have become very popular. Everyone loves to sit down with a big bowl of noodles and feel the comfort of carbs coat their stomach. However, we have been told time and time again that carbs=bad. In my opinion, this isn’t true! I take everything in moderation, and focus on complex carbs in addition to simple carbs. But I digress.
Noodles are tough for those who live a gluten-free lifestyle as I do. Especially if you want them to taste like something other than cardboard. Good news though, my dietary restriction readers! Healthy noodles and zoodles are here to make your life a little bit easier. Today I will share a variety of healthy noodle alternatives and where to find them.
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First Up for Healthy Noodles: Quinoa Noodles
Quinoa noodles are often combined with rice and and are a great substitute to “normal” noodles. Click here for my favorite brand of quinoa noodles. The texture and taste of these noodles are very closely aligned with regular glutinous noodles and come in many of the same shapes! How fun. They are one of my faves because they are filling and satisfying with protein to fill you up.
Brown Rice Noodles
Brown rice noodles are relatively self-explanatory. These healthy noodles are often used in restaurants or pre-made noodle brands marked with the gluten-free emblem. Click here for my favorite brown rice noodles. I’m personally unsure of my stance on brown rice. Brown rice is presented as the healthier version of rice, even though it’s still a carb and a grain. Many brands and restaurants add preservatives or other additives to both brown and white rice. Rice can be controversial in its own right because it isn’t certified “healthy.” However, rice is a good substitute for the gluten-free people out there. In addition, they’re easily digested by people who notice sensitivities or inflammation post-gluten ingestion. Everything in moderation, amirite? Click here to see the nutritious breakdown and comparison of brown and white rice
These pearly white noodles are found in your favorite local Asian restaurant or market! They’re thin and naturally gluten-free. It’s nice to know that many dishes can be made using these noodles and you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination or false labeling. I personally love rice noodles because they don’t feel as heavy to me and I don’t have a hard time digesting them. Also, the gluten-free mac and cheese I buy is generally made from rice noodles, and it’s delicious, shout out to Trader Joe’s. Click here for the best comfort food in the world.
These plant-based noodles are great for vegetarians, vegans, and people looking to cut down on carbs. They still have carbs, mind you, but usually, the carb content will be lower than that of rice and quinoa noodles. Full disclosure: these are one of my least fave noodle alternatives. I don’t know if it’s my cooking or the noodles themselves, but they tend to get soggy and squishy on me! Tl;dr be careful how you cook them. If you’re a better cook than me, you will probably be fine.
Tapioca noodles are also known as ‘skinny noodles’ if you buy them from weight watchers. These guys have 5 grams of carbs or something crazy like that! I’ve only had them once, so don’t quote me, but they are meant to be low in calories and carbs to promote weight loss. This is great for the health conscious people and dieters! However, they will need to be paired with some type of protein to fill you up enough. Otherwise, you may end up reaching for the junk food when your hunger signals spike. Note: these don’t even need to be cooked! Just open, rinse, and serve.
Very Healthy Healthy Noodles: Kelp Noodles
These noodles are bizarre. Someone had to say it! They are crunchy, yes, actually crunchy! Do with that what you will. However, they can be served in a cold salad or from a frying pan with some yummy sauces. I can’t get over the crunch, but I’ve made them for myself a few times. They are acceptable, but not what I want to be reaching for when I’ve got comfort food on the brain! On days I’m feeling bold I’ll test them out with a zesty lemony sauce and the standard Mediterranean toppings!
Spinach Fettuccine Noodles
I’ve only had these noodles at an Italian restaurant, but they’re so good! They’re made of spinach and I’d really like to know what else. Maybe I’ll do some digging and report back. They’re thick, delicious, and taste like real fettuccine.
Almond Flour Fettuccine Noodles
I. Love. These. They are kept in the freezer and only need 2 or 3 minutes to cook in a pot of boiling water. Wow, are they delicious! I haven’t had fettuccine in so long and these noodles really warmed my soul and fulfilled my craving. You can’t go wrong! I’m also loving that they’re made of almond flour! It’s a nice change.
The Healthiest Healthy Noodles: Zucchini Noodles
Zoodles are the new fad. Who wouldn’t want their noodles to be made of vegetables?! Um, me, that’s who. Maybe I’m a terrible cook, but I’ve never had success with these babies. They tend to get watery and mushy. This is also my opinion. If zoodles are your thang, then go for it!
What are your favorite healthy noodles & zoodles recipes? Let me know in the comments below!