Noodles, quinoa, rice or pasta? All four choices are pretty standard in our diets and often accompany our meals throughout the day - but which one is considered better nutritionally? Whether you’re the spag bol type, quinoa cooking-pro or the pho addict, we’ve broken down each pantry staple to find out which one is the healthier choice, and what nutrients you’re actually getting from each one. You can thank us later.
We’re crazy for noodles. Think, thin, round or flat - there’s a whole heap to choose from. Made from mainly rice flour and wheat flour, you can find other varieties that contain eggs and oats to give a different texture, taste and colour.
Noodles are truly a healthy food staple - especially noodles that are made from rice flour that share the same nutrient value as rice. Just 100 grams of rice noodles contain 138 calories, 2.1 grams of fat (which only 0.4 grams are saturated fats), 25 grams of carbohydrates and 4.5 grams of protein.
They also contain 1.2 grams of fibre, low sodium (5 mg per 100 grams) and cholesterol (29 mg per 100 grams). Rice noodles are also rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron and B-complex vitamins, which assist heart health and help proper functioning of the nervous system.
Quinoa hit celebrity status awhile back as an alternative to pasta and rice; it’s a solid source of fiber and minerals, and has 8 grams of protein in one cup. Plus, it’s gluten free. You see why people love it? Ranked as Superfood of the Year in 2013 by the United Nations, it not only has been praised for its high protein content, but it’s also rich in calcium, magnesium and manganese, which prevents the blood from clotting, as well as helping break down the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.
Quinoa’s main nutrients include fibre and potassium, both of which are important for de-bloating, but quinoa also contains B vitamins, vitamin E and iron which helps improve digestive function and reduce hunger. But that’s not all, quinoa includes all 9 essential amino acids, too.
Whether you’re gluten intolerant, having difficulty getting enough protein in your diet, or even they type of peeps who want to follow a healthier lifestyle, quinoa really is a superfood choice.
100 grams of cooked quinoa contains 360 calories, 4.5 grams protein, 7 grams fat (which 0.8 g saturated), 58 grams carbohydrates, 8.5 g fibre, 26 mg biotin, 223 mg folic acid, 211 mg magnesium, 517 mg of phosphorus, 3.2 mg of manganese, of 863 mg of potassium.
Rice is one of the oldest cereal grains, and a staple food for at least 3 billion people around the world (including us!). Providing an instant energy boost, rice is loaded with carbohydrates and acts as a source of fuel for the body (that’s one of the reasons why it’s such a great lunch option to keep us going).
Did you know rice doesn’t contain gluten? Which means it can be eaten by people who are gluten intolerant. Also, it’s high in B-complex vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and folic acid. B-complex vitamins help in a whole heap of bodily functions, like proper functioning of the heart and nervous system, healthy brain function, and also assists our metabolic rate.
But it doesn’t stop there. Rice also contains potassium, which is an important electrolyte for the balance of body fluids, magnesium for good functioning of the heart, nerves and muscles and phosphorus for bone health.
Finally, rice also contains fibre, which is mainly found in brown rice and even more in wild rice. Dietary fiber is important for good bowel function, lowering cholesterol in the blood and balancing sugar levels.
Whoever told you pasta wasn’t good for you, should not be apart of your life. And that’s the hard truth. Like all carbohydrates, pasta should be eaten in moderation and preferably with a bit of protein.
Now, you may have been told that pasta makes you fat, and well, that’a a lie. See, 100 grams of pasta contains less that 2 grams of fat. Pasta also has a very low content of cholesterol and sodium and is a great source of energy. Combining your favourite pasta with vegetable-packed sauces, red meat, poultry or fish can be a tasty and low calorie meal option.
Let’s be honest though, the benefits of eating pasta are greatly increased when they are whole grain-based (or whole meal), as they contain B-vitamins, selenium, magnesium, manganese and fibre - vitamins and minerals essential to the human body for better functioning of the brain, nervous system, muscles, thyroid and better functioning of the digestive system.
You may have seen this already coming - but all four food types are healthy and essential to your diet.
But, if we had to chose one based on their nutrition and health value it would have to be * drum roll * … Quinoa. Low in fat and high in protein, this superfood is really, well, a superfood.