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11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You’re Trying To Lose Weight

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11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You're Trying To Lose Weight

Pizza, Pasta, Panini, Chicken Parmigiana, and baskets of bread served with olive oil for dipping – these are just some of the Italian menu staples. Now, tell me: is it possible to dine at an Italian restaurant while watching your health and weight

While it’s hard to imagine counting your calories while seeing decadent dishes that are mostly carbs and cheese and oil, it’s possible to stay committed to your healthy lifestyle plan.

Whether you’re watching your weight or you’re just health-conscious, here are 11 tips to keep in mind if you want to enjoy Italian food the healthy way. 

1. Skip the breadbasket

11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You're Trying To Lose Weight

Watching your carbs? Ask the server not to bring the breadbasket. It will only fill you up even before you can have your delicious entrée. 

Instead of eating bread, order a warm and filling soup. Italian classics such as Minestrone and Pasta e Fagioli are great starters. Salads also make a nice appetizer. 

2. Opt for olive oil, not butter

Can’t resist the bread? Be a little kinder to your heart by opting for olive oil instead of butter for dipping. Olive oil is a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat. Additionally, a study at Cornell University found that diners who used olive oil as a bread condiment ate less bread than those who used butter. 

Don’t soak – a little amount of oil is enough. Make it more flavorful without the extra calories by using some balsamic or red wine vinegar and mixed olives. 

3. Avoid cream-based and butter-based sauces

Cream sauces, like alfredo, are made of heavy cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese – and that amount of fat could take a toll on your fitness goals. If you love cream-based and oil-based pasta dishes, try to balance the fat by ordering dishes loaded with vegetables and protein. 

If you’re watching your calories, you may be better off with red sauces, like tomato-based and wine-based sauces. 

4. Go easy on the cheese too

11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You're Trying To Lose Weight

Chicken Parmigiana, Lasagna, Mozzarella Sticks, and other dishes smothered with cheese are perfect comfort foods – but they’re obviously not the best for weight loss. If you fancy some Parmesan, sprinkle it on your plate then get that cheese off the table.

If you’re choosing to indulge in cheese, make sure to get it from the best Italian restaurant in your state, which uses nothing but high-quality cheeses. 

5. Choose hollow pasta

11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You're Trying To Lose Weight

The trick is to fill your plate with air. Hollow pasta varieties, like penne, macaroni, and ziti, will appear to give you a larger portion size than solid pasta types, like spaghetti and linguine. It may help you eat less of it while still feeling content. 

6. Order a protein-packed entree

11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You're Trying To Lose Weight

Having a protein-packed entree will leave you feeling full and satisfied without being too heavy. You’re content when you’re satisfied, which means less unnecessary post-entree cravings. The same goes for pasta and pizza. Pay a little extra to add chicken, seafood, or meatballs to make it more enjoyable. 

 

 

 

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7. Choose grilled and roasted, not fried

11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You're Trying To Lose Weight

If it’s on the menu, choose simply grilled beef, pork, veal, chicken, fish, or shellfish. Add a side order of sautéed spinach, broccoli rabe, or fresh green salad with vinaigrette dressing. 

If you want something flavorful, look for piccata, cacciatore, and marsala chicken, beef, or fish dishes, which are usually big on protein and lower in fat.

8. Resist the Shrimp Scampi and Fried Calamari

If you’re getting seafood, say no to these two oily dishes. Instead, opt for seafood dishes that are cooked in wine broths or olive oil, like Cioppino. 

The general idea is to stay away from meat dishes with unhealthy sauces that are loaded with fat and sodium. We’re talking about butter-based dishes, and anything smothered in cheese. Avoid fried goods too. Even seemingly healthy vegetable dishes like fried battered zucchini and eggplant parmigiana can add be unhealthy, given that they’re drenched in oil and cheese. 

9. Load up on vegetables 

11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You're Trying To Lose Weight

Vegetables not only add color to your meal – but they also balance everything. Consider having entrees, pasta, and pizza loaded with vegetables or ordering healthy vegetable side dishes along with your main dish. 

10. Finish it off with fruits

Go easy on custards, cheesecakes, cannoli, and tiramisu. If you can’t resist, order one for the table and share among your peers so you can have smaller portions. Opt for fresh berries and fruit-based desserts. 

Not a dessert person? A wine bar in Dublin highly recommends having a nice digestivo, or an Italian after-dinner liquor.

11. Eat-in moderation

11 Guilt-Free Ways To Enjoy Italian Food When You're Trying To Lose Weight

The key to enjoying good food while being aware of your health is to eat in moderation. Sample as many Italian fares as you can – from antipasti to dolci – but be mindful of your portions. 

One tip is to encourage sharing. Order family-size servings instead of having solo plates of pasta, mains, and salad. Aside from being economical, sharing helps cut down portion sizes.

 

 

 

Read more Lifestyle related stories in The Weekly Trends magazine.

Carmina Natividad is a passionate blogger who'd rather write helpful and engaging posts online than rant on social media. This free-spirited damsel enjoys writing articles about travel, fashion, food, home design, career, relationships, and lifestyle. When she's not writing, you can find her drawing monster doodles, eating Japanese food and petting her boyfriend's cat.

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  1. Pingback: Skip Pizza: 9 Delectable Lesser-Known Italian Dishes You Should Try

  2. Pingback: Everything You Need To Know About Sri Lankan Chinese Rolls - The Weekly Trends

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