Build Your Own Pasta [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Welcome to the second installment of Food Insight’s Build Your Own Series! We are excited to share simple but tasty ways to spice up the healthiness of different foods. Next up is a pasta meal, the versatile, energy-providing option that’s perfect for any time of day. If you’re new to pasta or just want to find more ways to enjoy it, keep reading.

First things first: choose your favorite pasta type. The nutritional content and cooking instructions between varieties of pasta can differ, so read labels to be sure you’re choosing the type that gives you the nutrition, texture and taste you desire. Both enriched/refined grains and whole grains are great options that will provide steady energy.

Next up is protein, which can help you stay full longer, build muscle and support your immune system. There are several beneficial and delicious options for protein, including animal and plant sources. Consider chicken, salmon and legumes, among other options.

Let’s turn to vegetables.There are so many different kinds of vegetables that you could add to this meal, including carrots, spinach and asparagus. Vegetables contain many nutrients such as vitamin A, which promotes healthy eyesight. Don’t have fresh produce? Not a problem. Frozen & canned will also work.

Now it’s time to consider the sauce – an important part of your pasta meal! You may want to opt for a veggie or oil-based sauce that contains heart healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive oil or pesto.

And finally, it’s time to top off your pasta with some seasonings. There are numerous options to choose from, such as basil, garlic and parsley. Add fresh, dried or powdered varieties to increase your flavor and keep the taste interesting.

Based on all the options available, it’s clear that pasta can have numerous tastes and textures. Try any and all of the combinations listed, and you’ll be set with new recipes for days to come. Plus, a pasta meal is a great way to get a good mix of fats, carbohydrates and protein. Did we mention it’s delicious?