Italian cuisine is mostly known for being carbohydrate- and dairy-heavy and diet-unfriendly. And even the best disciplined of us have a hard time turning down the amazing scent of garlic bread. But if you plan ahead and choose wisely, you can still enjoy your favorite Italian flavors without the side dish of guilt.
- Start with a smart appetizer to help fill your stomach so that you aren’t tempted later. A broth-based soup or a vegetable salad will help give you that full feeling without the added fat and calories of fried calamari or cheese stuffed mushrooms.
- If you cannot resist the temptation, simply ask your wait staff to either not bring the bread basket at all or to at least remove it from the table. Out of sight, out of mind goes a long way to avoiding temptation.
- This going without saying, but always bears repeating – avoid anything fried or stuffed. Many Italian dishes are overloaded with breading and cheese and cream.
- There is no need to avoid pasta altogether. There are plenty of delicious options that include a tomato-based sauce, plenty of vegetables, and grilled chicken. It will still have all that flavor but far fewer calories. Or order a grilled fish or chicken entrée and ask for a small side of pasta.
- If you do end up ordering a complete pasta meal, before you even take the first bite, ask for a to-go container and divide the portion in half.
- Avoid ordering a bottle of wine because then there is the strong temptation to finish it. If you want to indulge, simply order one glass and savor the taste.
Above all, make it a balance. If your favorite dish is the Caprese salad, pair it with a cup of broth based soup and enjoy.