The search for a whole wheat pasta the kids will eat
Pleasing the kids
About every other week, I try a new whole wheat or multi-grain pasta. Usually we have pasta twice a week, so this effort has been about a quarter of the kids' pasta consumption. While I found a brand I liked, apparently I was the only one because the manufacturer stopped making it (Mueller's Multi-Grain). When I serve any brand of whole wheat pasta, the kids get that dejected note in the voices, "Oh. It's whole wheat pasta." They complain that it is too gritty and I can't blame them because some really are.
Additionally, I find it incredibly annoying that the whole wheat/whole grain pastas not only cost more per box, but there is less in the box. And fewer shape choices. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
It was enough to make a mom (almost) give up on whole wheat pasta recipes.
Whole wheat pasta for health
My husband recently had a cholesterol test that didn't come back quite as good as we had hoped. Oh, it wasn't bad bad, but it wasn't great either. Just enough that some small adjustments towards healthy eating are in order to get a number down ten points or so. Among those adjustments is a greater commitment to whole grains, and that includes whole grain pasta. We will find a whole wheat pasta for the family, I decided.
At the market on Sunday, I scoured the pasta section for a brand I hadn't yet tried. Nothing new there. I was about to reach for a marginally acceptable brand when I noted that lower quantity on the box. Annoyed, I went back to the natural foods section at the market and looked there.
After some hemming and hawing, I picked a bag of organic whole grain pasta that had a full pound in it. Yes, it was more expensive than regular pasta, but when I did a little calculation, I realized that it actually cost less per ounce than the whole wheat pastas made by the major brands – and I was getting that full pound (12 ounces just doesn't cut it to feed my boys). I often think of this section of the market as the most expensive, but that is not always the case.
The best brand of whole wheat pasta
When I made dinner last night, I used this new pasta. It didn't look as rough as the other whole wheat pastas I've tried. When I put it out on the table, the kids didn't even realize it was whole wheat. When they tasted it, they could tell there was something different about the pasta, but they couldn't quite identify what. When I told them it was whole wheat pasta, they were surprised – and kept eating. The kids said they liked it. I'll be buying it again.
The cost of organic and/or whole wheat pasta can be a barrier to eating whole wheat pasta, especially with grocery costs rising so much, but I suspect this is one thing I'll be willing to pay more for -- at least some of the time. The brand? Bionaturae organic whole wheat fusilli.
Prices for whole wheat pastas will vary according to your area and the grocery store, of course, but I hope you will try substituting a whole grain pasta into your favorite pasta recipes. It's a healthy – and yummy – change.