Wellness for the Family: Diabetes-Friendly Pasta Alternatives

There’s no better comfort food than pasta, but what makes you feel good at the moment, may not be good for your blood sugar later on. In this Wellness for the Family, Blue Cross Blue Shield registered dietitian, Shanthi Appello shows us how a few pasta alternatives can make all the difference. See her diabetes-friendly versions of pad thai below.

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Vegetable noodles. From spiralized zucchini and sweet potato to spaghetti squash, vegetables can be shaped into pasta with the right equipment. High in fiber and low in calories, these Pasta Alternatives No Packagingalternatives are a guilt-free option that can be served up with a variety of sauces. Preparation is key in avoiding a soggy product or other textural problems. 

  • Zucchini Noodle (Zoodle) Cooking Instructions:
  1. Salt and pepper noodles and wrap in paper towel.
  2. Cook in pan on medium-high heat covered with spray oil for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Drain water from pan and pat dry.
  4. Toss in sauce and eat right away to avoid them getting soggy.

Bean-based pasta. Bean-based pastas are made from a variety of beans such as chickpeas, lentils and black beans. They are higher in fiber and protein making them more filling than regular pasta.  

  • Chickpea Pasta Cooking Instructions:
  1. This type of pasta cooks very similar to its regular counterpart. Cook according to package instructions.

Shirataki noodles. Low in calories, a whole package boasts only 20 calories, mostly from fiber and protein. The downside? Texture and a bit of a smell. The fibrous component from the konjac root gives the noodles an off-putting smell, a reason it comes packaged in water to help absorb it. Preparing them can be a bit tricky in order to get the right texture. 

  • Shirataki Noodle Cooking Instructions:
  1. Rinse and drain shirataki noodles and rinse in lukewarm water. This will help get rid of the smell.
  2. Pat noodles dry and sear in non-greased pan on high heat to rid of extra water for 3-5 minutes. Toss often to avoid burning.
  3. Mix with your favorite sauce and serve immediately.

Pad Thai Noodles Recipe, Serves 4


  • 4 servings of your choice of noodle substitutePad Thai Three Ways
  • ½ yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb shrimp (or chicken and tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pad Thai Sauce

  • 4 tbsp fish sauce 
  • 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar (traditional Pad Thai sauce has tamarind paste, but you can substitute with a mix of vinegar and brown sugar like in this recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha


  • Green onions, chopped
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Lime wedge
  • Bean sprouts


  1. Mix sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Lightly whisk eggs in a bowl with a fork.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Cook garlic and onion in oil until softened.
  5. Add shrimp for about 1-2 minute on each side.  
  6. Push everything to the side of the pan and add eggs, scrambling them in pan.
  7. Toss ingredients and noodles with sauce and top with garnish.
Categories: the four, Wellness for the Family