Welcome back to our eating out on a diet series! In case you missed out on the first few installments of this series, I have left a link below here to each of the previous articles.
In this article, we will be giving you some simple tips to follow for choosing lower-calorie options in an Italian restaurant.
Italian food is usually quite high in calories as it is usually quite high in both carbs (pastas, pizza dough etc) and fats (cheese, creamy sauces etc.)
So as always, when trying to make a lower calorie choice, aim for a protein source and base your meal around that.
Chicken, prawns, grilled fish and steak (fat trimmed) are some of the lower calorie choices for protein sources.
Either keeping carbs or fats of the meal lower can be a big help at reducing overall calories too.
So for example, if you are having a carby meal such as a pasta dish, try to choose a lower fat sauce option by limiting ingredients such as cream, butter, cheese, pesto (nuts), oil etc.
So avoiding dishes like carbonara, alfredo, lasagne (bechamel sauce), pesto pasta and usually stuffed pastas such as ravioli/cannelloni.
Baked pasta dishes also tend to be topped with loads of cheese and breadcrumbs.
Instead opt for a tomato-based sauce e.g arrabiata, pomodoro, bolognese and skip the cheese or just use a very small amount.
If you are having a high-fat meal such as a chicken Caesar salad (high in fat from the creamy dressing, fried croutons and bacon), keep carbs of the meal lower. Another example would be steak with a creamy pepper sauce or garlic butter. You can opt to keep carbs lower by having a side salad rather than fries/potatoes/mash.
This is just one strategy you can use and it can be applied in any type of restaurant (high-protein and high-fat/low-carb meal or a high-protein and low-carb/high-fat meal).
For vegetarians/vegans, it is harder to get a protein source so just aiming to go with a low-calorie vegetable-based dish and keeping either carbs or fats lower.
Pizzas would be a higher calorie option but if ordering one, you could opt for a thin base, lots of veg, a protein source and a small amount of cheese. It will really reduce overall calories if you ask for a thin base and less cheese!
Most restaurants these days have lighter pizza options so don’t be afraid to make special requests!
Some Italian restaurants even have the option of swapping pasta/spaghetti for courgetti/squashetti which would save hundreds of calories.
Skip the bread baskets, garlic bread, breadsticks, arancini balls, bruschetta or anything deep-fried/battered etc and try to stick to just one course to help keep overall calories of the meal down.
Trying to limit alcohol will also save you a lot of calories. Even if you can limit it until after you have eaten as often when we have a drink or two, our willpower is lowered and it will be harder to use discipline around food choices.
For desserts, sorbets are much lower in calories than gelatos, cakes, tiramisu, panna cotta etc.
Also, you can always opt for a half portion or smaller portion to reduce the calories of the meal out! Share a pizza or order a half portion of a pasta dish!
Hope you found these tips helpful. If you did, we would love if you could share them with a friend.
Thanks for reading guys!