Often, when people think about Italian restaurants, they imagine deep-fried foods or dishes covered in layers of cheese and cream. It’s also common to link Italian restaurants with idea of over-sized portions and big bread baskets to start off a meal. However, you don’t have to go that route. There are always ways to go out and eat a balanced and healthy meal that doesn’t leave you feeling fat and guilty.
Italian cuisine has many fresh and healthy options that you can choose from. Some popular options include appetizers made with fresh-cut artichokes and olive oil, salt cured prosciutto and melon, and much, much more. You can choose grilled seafood and tomato based sauces over cream based sauces, meats and deep-fried dishes. One thing you can bet on though, just because you’re watching what you eat, it doesn’t mean that your taste buds have to suffer!
Here is a list of the 5 of the healthiest dishes you can order in an Italian restaurant:
Bruschetta incorporates the most adored flavors of Italian cuisine. Slices of lightly toasted bread topped with diced tomatoes, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil make this low-calorie appetizer a great start for any meal.
- Caprese Salad
This is your chance to get a taste of the Italian flag: thick, milk drenched slices of white mozzarella, vine picked bush-red tomatoes, and whole green basil leaves alternately layered and topped off with a drizzle of EVOO. It’s so simple and yet the taste buds rejoice, “bon appetit!”
- Grilled Calamari
Seafood is extremely healthy as long as it’s kept out of the fryer, calamari is a great example. Just like many other types of fish and seafood, it too can be grilled and topped with olive oil, lemon and salt. This option is just as delicious any of the other less-healthy versions.
White meat is commonly known to be healthier than the dark meat because it’s leaner. So if you don’t like fish, you can opt to choose chicken instead. Chicken Cacciatora (which means “hunter”) is a popular rustic dish that is made with braised chicken, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, red wine and herbs. As they say in Italy, “Buono!”
- Mussels in white wine
Mussels are rich in minerals and low in calories. Mussels in their shells and cooked in some white wine make an exquisite broth. You can leave an Italian restaurant feeling fully satisfied and with your diet still in-tact. No guilt associated with this indulgence!