Initially regarded as "poor-man's food" when first introduced by immigrants, Italian food and restaurants are a mainstay in American culture. Unfortunately, traditional pasta dishes are also on the "no" list of many healthy diet trends. If your occasional tryst to your favorite Italian spot is a non-negotiable part of your diet or you find yourself out with friends, considering a few options will keep your diet under control and allow you to enjoy your favorite Italian foods.
Scout the Menu
Before heading out to the restaurant, take a peek at their menu. If you don't have one lying around, many restaurants will have their menus posted online. By planning ahead, you can discern what they have to offer and make healthy selections. This comes in handy when you are going out with friends and you don't want to feel pressured into ordering something that may be unhealthy or don't want to take up extra ordering time.
Eat a Giant Salad
Another perk to peeking at the menu ahead of time is to decide on whether or not you are going to choose healthier options. If the restaurant does not offer anything that catches your healthy-lifestyle-eye, then you can prepare a giant salad an hour before going out. With fruits, nuts and, raw veggies, you can fill your belly with healthy food and prevent yourself from overindulging in your favorite unhealthy deliciousness. You also have the option of ordering a large salad before your main dish arrives at the restaurant.
Following healthy lifestyle movements, many Italian restaurants offer dishes with wider options than those laden with heavy oils, creams, and carbs. These options can help you to be more flexible with your meal. Simply ask your server to substitute or decrease an ingredient or leave it out completely.
Share or Split
If the meal you choose is quite a hearty one, ask your dining companion to split it with you. Another option is to ask your server to prepare half of your meal to go. This is an excellent choice if you find it difficult to leave food on your plate even if you feel full.
It's no secret that soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are loaded with sugar and calories per cup, and at dinner, people rarely have one glass. Keep your unhealthy choices to a minimum, and go with water. It can help you feel full faster and will save you the calorie room for your favorite dishes.
Finally, some meals are better left for cheat days. Designate a day that you will allow yourself to have whatever you want with no judgement. If you have been maintaining a healthy lifestyle, indulging in your favorite foods once a week or once a month won't throw you off track. Also, by not having these foods often, the flavors will remain fresh and surprising to you every time.
It can be hard to live a healthy lifestyle with all that delicious Italian food just waiting to be eaten. With these preparations, you can still get indulge in the benefits of your diet and old Italy.