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Culinary trends constantly come and go. Some create a lot of buzz and are overused, such as cooking everything in coconut or olive oil, before becoming a somewhat commonplace technique. Spiralized vegetables, or zoodles, are a culinary trend that is on track to sticking around for a bit. Typically made from zucchini – as well as a variety of other vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash – zoodles have crossed the boundary from social media to restaurants to home kitchens, cementing their popularity.
Part of that popularity is driven by the gluten-free and reduced carb trends. You can replace any pasta dish that has noodles with zoodles, and by doing so, you can eat more food for fewer calories. For example, one cup of pasta may run you around 200 to 300 calories, and that doesn’t include butter or oil, sauces, and other additional add-ins. If you spiralize two medium zucchinis, you’re looking at 66 calories, cutting your caloric intake in half! Also, depending on what kind of pasta you are using, you may not be getting nearly as much fiber as you would get in zoodles, which is what keeps us full and helps us with digestion.
Zoodles are a great source of certain nutrients and their consumption helps increase your overall vegetable intake. Vitamins C, A, B6, riboflavin, and potassium are abundant in just ONE medium-sized zucchini. To compare, regular pasta is higher in protein but does not provide the amounts of vitamins and minerals zucchini pasta provides. However, you could also mix the two if you just want to add more vegetables to your diet or keep some pasta in the dish for consistency.
Zoodles allows you to get creative with your veggies. You can make zoodle spaghetti with ground turkey, fresh basil, and marinara. A stir-fry with zoodles and other veggies and ginger sesame or low sodium soy sauce with sesame oil is also delicious. Even a chicken zoodle soup would be fun to create and eat! This is also an excellent way to get kids to eat more vegetables.
Zoodles have become an established cooking trend that is endlessly versatile and adaptable. Zoodles can help you appeal to more health-conscious tastes and cater to those with gluten issues or trying to reduce their overall carbohydrate intake. Plus, they are easy to make and kids tend to eat more vegetables in this form. It’s a win-win all around!
Carrie Gabriel studied nutrition at California State University-Los Angeles and got her RDN through the Coordinated Dietetics Program there. She works as a dietitian for different corporate wellness companies, creating recipes for cooking demos and content for nutrition seminars.
She created her company, Steps2Nutrition, in 2012 in hopes of working more one on one with busy professionals and their specific nutritional needs. She has an advanced certification in weight management and specializes in gluten and dairy free meal preparation for various clients.
You can find some of Carrie’s healthy and delicious recipes and meal tips on her website, www.steps2nutrition.com, and on her Instagram and Twitter account, @steps2nutrition.