When the nights start getting cooler, it's common to opt for heavier comfort foods at dinner. And of course, one of the most satisfying dishes when it comes to warm comfort food is... Pasta 🍝. One rule that a nutritionist shared with me and always stuck was, eat a heavier lunch and a lighter dinner. You're most likely going to bed a few hours after dinner, at least during the week, and you don't want to feel weighed down before that. It's a common cause of weight gain and digestive issues as you get older.

But, there is a solution! ~Pasta Alternatives~

The following dishes are going to give you that same warm and cozy feeling, without the gluten and wheat that you may be trying to avoid.

Spaghetti Squash

This is a staple in my fall/winter dinner archive. You can layer on any flavors you want - your favorite pasta sauce or pesto, add ground meat for a bolognese or throw in some meatballs. The only catch is that the squash can take awhile to cook, especially if it's large. Here's what you do: Prep the spaghetti squash the night before or on Sunday, and it will last up to 4 days! Then all you have left is mixing your desired additives in a pan while warming up the squash. Carb-free, CHECK!

Zucchini Noodles

These are another favorite of ours. All you need is a spiralizer and 15 minutes. Zucchini noodles are thicker than spaghetti squash 'noodles', so they stand well with a hearty dish like the above (shrimp scampi... yes please?!!). They work with pretty much any pasta dish you can think of. Carb-free, CHECK!

Alternative 'Pasta'

At most grocery stores (even Target!), they stock up on red lentil, green lentil, brown rice, quinoa and chickpea pasta. The texture and flavors of these are the closest to traditional pasta you're used to. They'll definitely fill you up so keep portions in mind, but will still be lighter on your stomach before hitting the sack. I love the Ancient Harvest POW and Banza brands. Gluten-free, CHECK!

And remember... traditional pasta IS NOT BAD! (Unless you have a true gluten intolerance.) It's just nice to have a carb-free alternative once in awhile 😉