When you're watching your weight and eating healthy, eating out is tricky. Italian restaurants in many areas serve rich, hearty food. But there are lighter, healthy choices to make. Here is a guide to eating out at an Italian restaurant in a way that doesn't break your diet:
1. Limit your bread intake. Bread sticks are delicious, but they can fill you up and give you empty calories. If you're craving a little bread before the main course, order bruschetta instead. Bruschetta is a lighter option that gives you healthy fats from olive oil. To limit your calories, split the order with the rest of your table.
2. For a protein packed way to get your appetite going, order octopus and roasted vegetables. Don't get calamari. Instead, ask if you can get the octopus grilled or roasted. You may also ask for protein packed soups like minestrone. The combination of beans and vegetables in minestrone provides plenty of fiber to keep you satisfied without the extra calories.
3. Pasta is a healthy option if you know what to look for. Steer clear of pasta dishes with heavy, cream based sauces. Order a dish with olive oil or tomato sauce instead. Pasta is a calorie dense food, so limit your portion sizes. Ask for a to-go box and divide your meal in half.
4. Grilled fish or roasted chicken with a side of vegetables lets you indulge in delicious Italian food without the guilt. A small drizzle of olive oil on the vegetables brings out their flavor while providing healthy fats.
5. In the mood for pizza? You can satisfy your craving and still eat a healthy meal. Ask for thin crust, vegetables, and light cheese. The classic Margherita pizza is always a healthy choice.
6. Get a spicy dish. Heat provides flavor and can satisfy your appetite and make you feel full without overeating. In fact, people eat less calories when they eat spicy foods. Good choices include penne with arrabbiata sauce, spaghetti pomodoro, or chicken diavolo.
7. If you need something a little sweet after your meal go for the cappuccino instead of tiramisu. The cappuccino will hit the spot without breaking the calorie bank. Even if you're full from dinner, who doesn't have room for a delicious, hot drink?
8. Not satisfied with cappuccino? A fruit salad or sorbet with a side of biscotti will make your sweet tooth happy. If the restaurant serves Italian ice, this is also a great choice. Italian ice is made with fruit juice or puree. Unlike regular ice cream, it's not made with fat-based dairy products.
These choices will help you eat at your favorite Italian restaurant without breaking your diet.