You're watching your weight, but you've been invited to a social gathering or work function at an Italian restaurant. Are you doomed to blow your diet? Do you have to skip the night out in order to maintain your meal plan? No! Italian food is much more than just carbs and cream sauces. If you think of Italian cuisine as mostly calorie-laden dishes, you're probably missing out on some tasty and healthy dishes. It's entirely possible to order a delicious, diet-friendly meal at an Italian restaurant. Take a look at some tips that can help.
It's always a good idea to start your meal with a soup or salad when you're dieting. These are generally healthy foods that will take some of the edge off of your hunger, allowing you to eat less when you get to the main part of the meal.
Italian soups like minestrone and pasta fagioli are hearty and filled with beans and vegetables. They're a great way to fill up a little and prevent overeating later. A Caesar salad is also a good choice – the anchovies in the dressing are a good source of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. You're better off skipping the bread or bread sticks, but if you do opt for bread, dip it in olive oil instead of buttering it. Olive oil is heart-healthy and you'll get a more authentically Italian flavor.
Sauces are a big part of Italian cuisine, but not all sauces are full of calories. In general, you're better off opting for red sauces instead of white sauces. While white sauces tend to contain heavy cream or cheese, red sauces like marinara, red clam, and vegetable sauce tend to be low in calories and high in nutrients.
If you dislike red sauces or don't want to risk staining your outfit, look for white-wine or garlic-based sauces. These are generally not as heavy in calories – just ask that the chef goes easy on the butter.
When it comes to meats and main dishes, your best bet is to simply look for dishes that used grilled meat, not meat that's been breaded and fried. For example, instead of breaded chicken Milanese, order chicken Paillard, a Tuscan grilled chicken dish that's usually topped with olive oil, lemon, and arugala.
If you like seafood, try grilled calamari seasoned with lemon, olive oil, and parsley, rather than fried calamari. You'll get fewer calories and more flavor.
There's no reason to pass up a fun night and a great meal at an Italian restaurant just because you're on a diet. Knowing how to choose the healthier foods on the menu will allow you to enjoy your Italian meal without guilt. For more information, contact companies like Veneto Ristorante Italiano.