Every October, Americans celebrate one of the tastiest months of the year – National Pasta Month. Pasta provides many benefits to families, including having a nutritious meal that is affordable, easy to customize, and supports a healthy diet. In celebration of this scrumptious month, below are fun facts that demonstrate why pasta continues to be one of America’s favorite foods!
- Nutritional Benefits – According to a consumer survey conducted by the National Pasta Association, 84% of consumers consider pasta to be a healthy food and an important part of a well-balanced diet. Its health benefits include carbohydrates for sustained energy, being low sodium and cholesterol free, as well as having a low glycemic index. Additionally, enriched varieties of pasta have folic acid, iron and several B-vitamins. Registered dietitian Diane Welland recommends pasta because “pasta provides both the inherent benefits of eating grains, such as energy, fiber and folic acid, and provides the health benefits of all the other added foods.” Find more pasta nutrition information here.
- Versatility – Test your pasta knowledge with the popular pasta shapes dictionary! Just as you can customize your pasta dish with your favorite vegetables, meats and sauces, it can be fun to experiment with different shapes and countless recipes. There are over 600 pasta shapes to choose from, and playing around with different shapes can make your recipe unique. Find the most popular shapes here.
- In Demand – There’s no question the U.S. loves pasta – the U.S. is the second highest pasta producing country in the world, second only to Italy, and the average American eats approximately 20 pounds of pasta per year. See more pasta statistics here.
- High Consumption – Many people incorporate pasta into their diet regimes. In fact, 77% of Americans surveyed in a National Pasta Association survey said they eat pasta at least once a week and a third said they eat it three times or more per week. Pasta is perfect for a quick, hearty lunch or dinner, but can also be used in more non-traditional ways with fun and delicious breakfast and snack recipes. Find pasta recipes here.
- Healthy Diet – As an integral part of the Mediterranean Diet lauded by nutritionists, pasta is the perfect canvas for adding in other healthy foods like lean proteins, colorful veggies, fiber-filled legumes or fresh fruit. Best of all, research shows that pasta eaters are more likely to have better overall diet quality than non-pasta eaters. Read more about this research here.
- Timeless Recipes – You could make a different pasta meal every night, but there are a few recipes Americans go back to time after time. Some classic pasta recipes include spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, penne alla vodka, pasta carbonara, beef stroganoff, macaroni and cheese and many others. Find classic pasta recipes here.
- A Diverse History – While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when pasta came into existence, it has had a presence as early as the late 13th century across several different cultures, including the Etruscans, Chinese, English and Americans. View the pasta history timeline here.
- Environmentally-Friendly – As a grain, pasta is among the least environmentally intrusive foods to produce, as grains require little water and have a very small carbon footprint. Read more about pasta’s low environmental impact here.
While October is National Pasta Month, you can celebrate it every day by enjoying a healthy pasta meal. Recipes and more pasta facts and information are available at PastaFits.org. Share your favorite pasta meals on social media by using #mypastafits and #nationalpastamonth this October!
About the National Pasta Association (NPA):
NPA is the leading trade association for the U.S. pasta industry. NPA encourages the consumption of pasta by being the center of knowledge and promoting sound public policy to the consumer, the industry and the regulatory bodies because a sustainable pasta industry is vital to healthy diets.
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