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March Focus: Celebrating Noodle Month

March Focus: Celebrating Noodle Month - Thomas Cuisine

The Versatility and Lesser-Known Health Benefits of Noodles

Noodles are a beloved, versatile staple in cuisines around the world and can be paired with nearly any seasoning, sauce, vegetable, or protein. This versatility is exciting for our Chefs and nutritionists as we craft our March menus to encourage balanced meals with noodle options all month! From whole wheat to vegetable-based options, modern-day noodles have evolved to serve a range of special diets, which is great news for those who desire the comfort of chewy, delicious noodles made from a variety of creative, real food ingredients. It’s notable in recent dietary trends that carbohydrates are still somewhat of a hot button topic, but our dietitians are pleased to bring you some information about different noodles and the health benefits they can offer while still building a balanced meal.

Noodles as a Flexible Choice for a Balanced Diet

Traditional noodles are often seen as a carb-heavy meal option, but today, with our need for flexible dietary options, noodles have become a creative staple made of a variety of ingredients to accommodate  special diets. Contrary to some misconceptions, carbs are not the enemy within our diets; when consumed in proper ratios, carbohydrates form an integral part of a balanced diet by offering quick, accessible energy for our bodies to utilize throughout the day. Noodles can be a great canvas to help you mix in more vegetables, proteins, or bone broths into your diet; before you know it, a bowl of your favorite ramen, pho, or composed noodle salad can become a well-rounded meal with diverse nutrients without the heaviness or caloric density associated with other meal options. When it comes to selecting noodles, you’ll see a range of options on our menus this Spring including traditional whole-wheat noodles, vegetable-based noodles, rice noodles, Soba noodles, and much more.

Whole Wheat Noodles: A Fiber-Rich Treat

Whole wheat noodles stand out as a wholesome choice, providing a rich source of fiber crucial for supporting good digestion. One cup of whole wheat noodles surprisingly contains more protein than a single egg, making it a great option within your balanced diet.

Vegetable Noodles: Creative and Nutritious

Vegetable noodles, particularly those crafted from squash, offer a low-calorie alternative that elevates your vegetable intake in a deliciously creative way. Zucchini noodles, also known as ‘Zoodles’, are made by processing zucchini into ribbon-like strands that easily twirl onto a fork. Zoodles emerged as a star of vegetable noodles with their high content of Vitamin A, promoting vision and immune function. Additionally, Zoodles are brimming with antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein, contributing to eye, skin, and heart health while offering protection against certain types of cancer. The soluble fiber in zucchini supports gut health by nourishing beneficial bacteria.

Soba Noodles: a Gluten-Free, Nutrient-Packed Option

Soba noodles, often made from buckwheat, present a gluten-free grain option that caters to various dietary preferences. Whether pure buckwheat or a blend with wheat, soba noodles boast higher fiber content compared to many alternatives. Rich in manganese, these noodles play a vital role in wound healing and bone health. With 6 grams of protein per cup, soba noodles become a valuable source for tissue building and repair. The fiber content in soba noodles further contributes to a healthy gut by supporting beneficial bacteria.

Rice Noodles: a Complex, Gluten-Free Friendly Carb

Chewy, light rice noodles are a gluten-free friendly option, and offer a source of complex carbohydrates, 12% of your daily recommended selenium, and 14% of daily recommended manganese; elements associated with lowering risk of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Rice noodles are also a source of phosphorus, a natural partner of calcium which benefits tooth, bone, and kidney health. When considering different noodles to try, rice noodles can be a great option especially for special diets avoiding gluten or wheat.

 

We’re excited to explore the world of noodles with you this month and we can’t wait to see which options you like best within our cafes. Whether opting for the fiber-rich whole wheat noodles, the creative and nutrient-packed vegetable noodles, or the gluten-free goodness of soba or rice noodles, each option brings its unique set of health benefits to the table. Embracing noodles as a flexible and balanced dietary choice opens a world of culinary possibilities, and we look forward to serving you a variety of Real Food noodle options as the month of March progresses.

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