Tips For Eating Healthy At An Italian Restaurant

Posted on: 27 February 2019


If you want to enjoy Italian food on a date or when you go out with family and friends, you might worry about how you can stick to your goal to eat healthier. When people think of Italian, they often think of pasta dishes or heavier foods like chicken parmesan with oil and breading. However, you can make healthier choices at Italian restaurants, especially ones that offer authentic dishes from regional areas of Italy. Here are some tips to help you eat healthy at an Italian restaurant. 

1. Choose from the soup offerings.

Italian cuisine offers several delicious soups that are simultaneously hearty and full of vegetables. Look for soups that are broth based instead of cream based. One such soup, minestrone soup, is traditionally vegetarian, with plenty of squash, tomatoes, beans, and carrots. Served with a modest piece of bread and sprinkling of cheese, this soup will fill you up without sabotaging your goal for better health. You might also try Italian wedding soup, which offers a flavorful broth, tiny pearl-like pasta, meat, and greens, such as kale, spinach, or escarole. 

2. Look for non-pasta vegetarian dishes. 

Even though the menu will offer plenty of pasta options, look beyond the pasta for other filling Italian dishes that celebrate the vegetable. You can, of course, order a dish with meat as the featured ingredient, but some meat is higher in calories than vegetables, especially when cooked in oil or butter. Some common dishes that feature vegetables include stuffed eggplant, mushroom risotto, or summer squash served with fresh cheese and pine nuts. If you do want meat for the protein, check out dishes made with chicken or turkey instead of beef or lamb. 

3. Pass over the beef in favor of seafood.

Another option is to embrace the Italian's love of seafood. Fish offers protein, less fat, and plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. Classic Italian fare centers on a variety of seafood. Consider trying crab toasts. If you love crab and you like bread, you can pass over the pasta and get toasted ciabatta with plenty of crab with a light lemon sauce. The bread will give you some carbohydrates, but the real center of the dish is the crab. If you are worried about bread, ask for the crab to be served on lettuce instead. 

You'll also never go wrong with roasted salmon or mussels with citrus fruits and warm-weather veggies. Citrus and vegetables like asparagus are common in Italian dishes because the climate in Italy allows for the growth of warm-weather produce year-round. Salmon is a hearty fish with a mild flavor that offers plenty of benefits. 

 Keep these tips in mind as you check out local restaurants like Tony & Joe's Pizzeria.