Spaghetti is a favorite among children and adults alike! My toddler especially loves this meal and often asks for it at lunchtime. I love that is it fast and easy and something I can prepare in less than 15 minutes. I do use commercial bottled marinara sauce, but my favorite sauce is one that I make every year from tomatoes in my garden so if I have enough on hand that is my go to.
3 cups cooked whole wheat spaghetti
½ cup marinara sauce
2oz lean ground beef
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Directions: Brown ½lb lean ground beef in skillet. Add 2 cups marinara sauce, and cook until hot. Top noodles. Add Parmesan cheese. If you want a side, steam some broccoli!
Marinara sauce is not only a good source of vitamin C, but it is also especially rich in vitamin A with just a half a cup providing about 40% of your daily needs. Vitamin A is needed for cell growth and differentiation, which is critical during pregnancy. It is important for proper development of the heart, lung, and kidneys and is considered one of the most important vitamins during pregnancy. The tomato base of marinara contains a high amount of lycopene, an important antioxidant, which actually turns into a more easily absorbed form as it is cooked.
Spaghetti, especially whole-wheat spaghetti, provides an excellent source for balancing out this meal. If you choose whole-wheat spaghetti you will also be getting additional fiber, vitamin E, zinc, and iron. If you don’t like the taste of whole-wheat pasta you can try making a half and half mixture of white spaghetti and whole-wheat spaghetti to see if that is better tolerated. Replacing some is better than having none.
To balance out this meal I always serve it with some veggies. Cooked broccoli goes along perfect with this meal both in taste and in appearance. I often cook broccoli in the microwave, which preserves a lot more nutrients than boiling does. After rinsing and trimming the broccoli I place it in a glass bowl and add about 1-2 tbsp of water. I then microwave it for about 3 minutes depending on how much broccoli I am cooking. It turns out perfect every time!