Eating Italian When You're on a Diet - dummies

Eating Italian When You’re on a Diet

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

Can you stick to your diet in an Italian restaurant? Most Americans think of heavy southern Italian food when they think of high-calorie items: meatballs, eggplant Parmigiana, veal Parmigiana, and lasagna. However, the food of northern Italy, while it may appear less caloric, also has its detractors: butter, olive oil, and cream.

Portions are overly generous in most Italian restaurants, so if you are dieting, this may be a good place for sharing — particularly important when you consider that an antipasto of cheese, marinated vegetables, salami, and garlic bread can use up a day’s calorie budget before the main course arrives.

Bread on the table served with butter or olive oil can be a diet buster. Ask for tomato sauce for dipping if you must fill up on bread and have the fats removed. Or better yet, out of sight, out of mouth; have the bread removed, too. Order vegetables à la carte as long as they’re not cooked with plenty of fat or deep-fried. And instead of a creamy dessert, order a lowfat cappuccino with fruit.

Choose more of these:

  • Light red sauce

  • Marinara sauce

  • Pasta (other than those stuffed with cheese)

  • Piccata (lemon-wine sauce)

  • White or red clam sauce (but ask the wait staff; some clam sauces are made with cream)

  • Wine sauce

Eat less of these:

  • Alfredo

  • Alla panna (with cream)

  • Butter

  • Carbonara (butter, eggs, bacon, and sometimes cream sauce)

  • Fried eggplant or zucchini

  • Frito misto (fried mixed vegetables or seafood)

  • Olive oil

  • Parmigiana (baked in sauce with cheese)

  • Prosciutto

  • Salami