Well, that's not entirely true. The winner of the Noodles & Company gift card giveaway is Paul Dracon.
His answer—to the question If you’ve never been to Noodles & Company, what dish would you most like to try there and why?—was:
"Japanese pan noodles, so that the waiter will know which table the Godzilla noises are coming from. I'll get my check faster. Besides, it's fun to pretend that your plate is Tokyo and that the shiitake slices are really terrified civilians who are struggling to escape, as the last chunk of ginger narrates like Raymond Burr."
Pretty inventive, if I do say so myself.
But we all win in the sense that we all get to keep eating pasta and other carbs. In fact, not only do we get to eat them, we should eat them. We just have to eat them the right way.
And for the rules on how to do that, I'd like to defer to someone who's more of an expert than me: Christine Avanti, author of Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads (a book I'm anxious to get my hands on) and nutritionist on Dancing with the Stars. Here's what Avanti says about how we should all eat carbs. . .
1. Combine carbs with a protein.
Combining a protein with a carb not only fills you up, but it lowers the overall glycemic index (the GI, a popular way to measure the speed that carbs enter the bloodstream in the form of glucose or blood sugar). According to David Ludwig, M.D. of Harvard Medical School, high GI meals are like newspaper in your fireplace, quick to flare up and burn out, while low GI meals are more like slow-burning logs. This one trick, if used consistently, can influence your weight loss plan more than any other eating tip.
Example: Pasta with a meaty tomato sauce.*
2. Eat carbs more often!
While the conventional approach to dieting teaches you how to omit meals, the smarter approach is to make sure you do not miss meals. And it gets better. Eating a carb-protein meal 4 times per day rather than 3 helps keep blood sugar levels stabilized. This keeps the metabolism firing and energy levels high. Research has demonstrated that regulating blood sugar levels regulates hormonal secretions which results in optimal fat burning. Not only this, but carbs secretions which results in optimal fat burning. Not only this, but carbs must be present in the system for the chemical process of fat-burning to work.
Note: For portion sizes and many more details, check out Christine's book.*
3. Eat carbs at every meal.
Believe it or not, this is a healthier approach because you will stabilize blood sugar and prevent the urge to binge later. Skipping carbs at a meal almost always leads you to make up for it later; usually in the form of late-night cookies. This is because the brain needs the glucose from carbs for fuel and if it doesn't get more within 4 or 5 hours, your body has no choice but to break down lean body tissues (like muscles) for fuel.
Example of what not to eat: salad with grilled chicken—too low on carbs! Much better to eat a grilled chicken burger with a side of fruit.*
4. Eat carbs late at night.
Yes, this is just as important as the rest of your meals. And go ahead and eat dinner even if it is late. Starving yourself or skipping meals slows the metabolism and let's face it—it isn't fun to starve! To keep the metabolism humming and the fat burning, eat a full meal including carbs even in the late evening. Just be sure to eat a healthy protein-carb combo, and if it is really late, you might want to cut the meal in half.
5. Don't overdo it at one time.
Your body isn't a cash register. It doesn't add up your total at the end of the day. It only cares how much you eat at a single meal. If you eat one entire large deep-dish pizza, your body converts the carb overload to fat storage. However if you only eat two light slices now and two slices for dinner 4 hours later, you won't overload the bloodstream with glucose at one time, thus you will keep your fat-burning going. So keep each meal a reasonable size and spread your carbs evenly over all the meals in the day.
*Examples in italic are courtesy of Sarah Fuss's Yahoo Fresh Picks Blog.