Chickpea, black bean or edamame pasta – are these pasta alternatives healthy or not?

After bariatric surgery, having enough protein and fiber in your diet is important. Women should have 60 to 80 grams of protein and 25 grams of fiber daily while men should consume 80 to 100 grams of protein and 38 grams of fiber daily. Traditional pastas have a lot of carbohydrates and not a lot of the healthy nutrients we aim to have in our post-op diets.

So, what about the new pasta alternatives now on the supermarket shelves – are they better for a bariatric diet?   Let’s take a look at the options.

Chickpea pasta

Chickpea pasta is made of 90% chickpeas, which are naturally a great source of fiber, protein and iron. One cup of chickpea pasta gives you 190 calories, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein. A brand I recommend to patients is Banza. In a bright orange box, it is hard to miss on supermarket shelves. Banza has a variety of different types of chickpea pastas including penne, spaghetti and even macaroni and cheese.

Black bean pasta

Black bean pasta is made of 100% black beans. Black beans are a great source of fiber and protein as well as vitamin B1 and magnesium. One cup of black bean spaghetti has 190 calories, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of protein.  A brand I like to use is Ancient Harvest POW! Pasta. This brand makes their pasta with plant-based protein so one serving keeps you energized throughout the day.

Edamame pasta

Edamame pasta is made up of 100% edamame beans. Edamame is rich in fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and omega 6 fatty acids, which are heart healthy fats. One cup of edamame spaghetti will give you 210 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of protein.  Explore Cuisine is my go-to brand for this pasta which tastes perfectly with some avocado oil or a tomato-base sauce.

So… healthy or not?

If you’re craving pasta, the edamame pastas seem to be your best option since it contains the highest amount of protein and fiber and the least amount of carbohydrates versus traditional pastas.  Eating lean meats, fish, and dairy products such as Greek yogurt and eggs are the best way to get in your daily protein, but if you want to have a little pasta here and there, one of these new choices is a good alternative just keep the portion size in check and pair it with a lean protein and a non-cream-based sauce.