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Have you cut back on or—gasp!—given up pasta? Try our strategies for healthier noodles on National Pasta Day.

October 17, 2014

Have you cut back on or—gasp!—given up pasta because of the bad rap it’s gotten? (It’s a carb! Carbs make you fat!) Do you miss it? Good news: It's time to put a pot of salted water on to boil.

While we tend to think of foods as “good” or “bad,” the reality is almost any food is fine in moderation. Our strategy for worry-free noodle indulgence? Balance your plate with plenty of produce, lean protein, and good fats.

RELATED: 14 Slimming Pizza and Pasta Recipes

So what’s a reasonable serving size? About 2 ounces of dry pasta per person equals about 1 cup cooked, which is a good portion (and equals 2 servings of grains). But there’s no need to break out the kitchen scale, just use your noodle: If you’re cooking for 4, and you have a 1-pound box, simply use half (that's 8 ounces).

To make your meal even more beneficial, try whole-grain pasta (or a blend that incorporates whole grains). Avoiding gluten? Soba, made with buckwheat, ($8, edenfoods.com) can be a great choice—just be sure to check the label, since some soba brands mix the buckwheat with regular wheat.

Here are 5 delicious, healthy recipes that will help you enjoy pasta again, guilt free:

Farfalle with Zucchini and White Beans

This colorful dish features two vegetables that add flavor and lots of vitamins for very few calories. Beans bulk it up with protein and fiber. Get the recipe: Farfalle with Zucchini and White Beans

Pasta Primavera

Featuring cherry tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, zucchini, onion, and garlic, this vegetable-rich pasta dish is a bowlful of goodness. The colors and textures make it extra satisfying. Get the recipe: Pasta Primavera

Ultimate Spinach and Turkey Lasagna

Get your leafy greens in the easy way with this hearty baked pasta. Freeze a few individual pieces for emergency dinners. Get the recipe: Ultimate Spinach and Turkey Lasagna

Pasta with Wilted Kale and Caramelized Onions

Sweet caramelized onions and a touch of crushed red pepper flakes complement the bitter kale in this weeknight-perfect pasta dish. Get the recipe: Pasta with Wilted Kale and Caramelized Onions

Photo: MyRecipes.com

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

Fruity olives and toasty cauliflower florets give this fiber-packed pasta a distinctive, grown-up flavor. Get the recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

Photo: MyRecipes.com

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