Italy - land of pizza, pasta and lasagne! No wonder when you leave an italian restaurant you feel like you need to be wheeled out - it's carb overload. If you're prepping for your summer bod, is it really possible to dine Italian style? Of course. Just need to know how.
First, bread comes out. Yes, nothing beats a homemade toasty warm sourdough with butter on the side. Have a few bites and thats it - you dont want to fill up on this. You need space for the rest your meal right?
Entrees - oysters, cured meats, smoked fish, carpaccio, olives - all full of healthy fat, wholesome and nourishing. What's going to hurt you here is a massive portion of bread and cheese - gluten and dairy, two of the most gut-inflamming foods you can have.
Mains - now, it doesnt take a genius to know that if you order a pizza, a big pasta or lasagne it's going to make you feel pretty rank after. However, as mentioned before - if it's part of your experience here, then have it. But my advice would be to share it - and share it with someone who orders a salad or a meat / vegetable dish like fish of the day. And for the love of your waistline,please order the red sauce base - creamy sauces here are uber rich and difficult to digest. Or, skip the entrees and go straight to this - especially if you order a wholewheat pasta with vegetables / meat / fish, it can be quite healthy, provided the portion size is normal. However, if you're not fussed about ordering it, then I would highly recommend a protein / vegetable dish from the menu: it's often high quality and a lean cut. The vegetables are often fresh too. If it has a sauce, order it on the side too.
Finally, dessert. First step is to ask yourself - are you actually hungry? If you've got your eye on the menu before it's even bought out, then follow my golden rule here - share! The servings are generally huge and it's really just the flavour you want - you should be pretty filled by the previous dishes anyway. Alternatively, they often bring tea and fruit - this gives you natural sweetness, so naturally, I'll support this one too.
Ultimately, fill up on fresh meals and limit the dairy and gluten - it's failproof.
Image credit: A'Tavola