The Best Low Calorie Noodles (That Aren't Zoodles)

These lower calorie options are great store-bought ways to get your noodle fix.

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December 22, 2022

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Photo by: Photo c/o Amazon

Photo c/o Amazon

If you’re looking for alternatives to traditional pasta, there are more than a few options available now. Various veggie and legume blends (move over, zoodles!), there are dozens of options featuring many flavors, textures and nutrient profiles. For a lower calorie noodle option that's easy to cook, here are our top picks.

What To Consider About Low Calorie Noodles

Portion control. Lower calorie doesn’t mean you get to eat the entire package! One of the biggest issues with traditional pastas are the excessive portions eaten. Take a look at the serving size on the box when you're ready to get cooking.

Know what low calorie means. For a food label to technically be within “low calorie” guidelines, a food must contain less than 40 calories per serving, Some of these noodle selections meet that criteria, while others are lower calorie options in comparison to traditional wheat pasta that contains 200 calories, 42 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per 2-ounce (dry) servings.

Finally, beware of eating too low-calorie. Your body needs enough calories in a day to function properly. Before cutting tons of calories, talk with a healthcare provider or nutritionist to come up with a plan that works for your body.

Low Calorie and Lower Calorie Noodle Options

Hearts of Palm

Harvested from the core of certain species of palm trees, these tender veggies are typically found packed in water or brine. They have a relatively neutral, earthy flavor, sort of like an artichoke but much less fibrous. Hearts of palm pasta from brands like Palmini offer a pasta alternative in cans and pouches. It is very low in carbs and calories: A 2.5 oz serving has just shy of 4 grams and 20 calories. It also has 2 grams of fiber per serving.

Shirataki

This O.G. noodle alternative goes by many names including glucomannan, konjac and the popular brand Miracle Noodle. Brands including Nasoya and It’s Skinny have also joined the shirataki party with their own offerings. A 3-ounce serving of Miracle Noodles contains virtually no calories since it is mostly made of undigestible fiber. If that sounds somewhat unappetizing, look for a blended brand like Nasoya which combines shirataki with chickpea flour for slightly more flavor and texture.

Cauliflower

Move over rice and pizza crust, it makes perfect sense we have progressed to cauli-pasta. Caulipower offers frozen trays of various popular pasta shapes made from a mix of cauliflower, corn and rice flour, potato starch, lentil flour and pea protein. One cup of this gluten option contains 210 calories, 45 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein, which is comparable to traditional wheat pasta.

Rice Noodles

Unlike many of the previously mentioned noodle new kids, noodles made from rice flour have been around centuries. Whether you choose or white rice noodles or brown rice version, with slightly more fiber, they are quick cooking, gluten free and take on whatever flavors you add to them. Rice noodles are idea for soups, stir fry, spring rolls and cold salads. This noodle option also contains about 200 calories per 2-ounce (dry) serving.

Jicama

Another popular noodle spin offered at many grocers in the prepared produce section are thin spiralized strands of jicama, a slightly sweet and mild root veggie that is super-low in calories and packed with fiber, coming in a 46 cals and 6 grams of fiber per cup. This raw veggie option has a crunchier texture than cooked varieties but makes for a delish addition to cold salads and slaws.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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