Kids and teens who eat pasta are nutritionally better off
Pasta is one of the most convenient, nutritious, and easy-to-prepare family meals and pleases even the pickiest of young eaters.
But now there's even more good news for pasta lovers as new research has shown that pasta consumption in children and adolescents is associated with a better diet.
The study demonstrated that young pasta-eaters have greater intakes of important vitamins and minerals and lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat in the diet compared to their peers who do not consume pasta.
The research examined associations between pasta consumption, shortfall nutrient intakes, and diet quality in comparison to non-pasta consumption in US children and adolescents (between the ages of 2 and 18).
From the analysis, researchers identified a number of key positive nutritional dietary patterns associated with children and adolescents who eat pasta as part of their diet compared to those who don't eat pasta:
- Better overall diet quality
- Greater intake of key shortfall nutrients like dietary fiber, folate, iron, magnesium and vitamin E
- Lower daily intakes of saturated fat and total fat
- No significant associations were seen with body weight, waist circumference and body mass index
Pasta has long been celebrated as one of the world's favorite foods and is advocated by nutritionists for its good nutrition. Diane Welland, dietician and communications manager for the National Pasta Association, says parents should think of pasta as a canvas for other nutrients:
"Good nutrition is critical to the developing minds and bodies of children and adolescents. Certain grain foods, like pasta, are a great complement to a healthy well-balanced meal and provide plenty of opportunities for improving the diet.
Think of pasta as a canvas from which you can add nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, cheese, lean meats and legumes, when creating meals for your family."