Eating Out Tips: Italian


Although the Mediterranean diet has been touted as a great way to eat healthily, many of the foods served in Italian restaurants are high in both fat and calories. Creamy sauces (such as Alfredo), plenty of cheese and large portion sizes are the biggest problems with this style of cuisine. If you're dining out on Italian food, try to skip the cream sauce wherever you can and reduce your portion size by ordering an appetizer for your main meal.

Even foods such as antipasto, bruschetta, ciabatta and foccacia can be high in calories, so choose carefully from what's offered. Try to avoid cheese, salami-type meats, pesto, and butter, as these will add a lot of fat to your meal. If possible, order your food without these types of ingredients.

Good choices in Italian restaurants include tomato-sauce-based or marinara-based pastas,  gnocchi, salads (with dressing on the side), grilled meats and broiled or steamed fish.

When ordering pizza, go for a vegetarian option and ask for half the cheese.

When it comes to dessert, skip the Tartufo or Tiramisu and go for a gelato or sorbet instead. Choose a skim cappuccino or latte instead of a full-fat one.


Food Calories Fat (g)
Bruschetta, 2 slices 380 17
Ratatouille, 7.5 oz 76 6
Cannelloni, 1 tube, 6 oz 280 15
Gnocchi, spinach 300 18
Lasagna with meat, 10 oz 400 17
Linguine with red clam sauce 570 10
Pasta (2 cups) with Bolognese (meat) sauce 650 16
Pasta (2 cups) with Marinara (seafood) sauce 540 13
Pizza, thick crust, 2 slices 602 27
Ravioli, 8 oz 300 12
Risotto, chicken 420 12
Tortellini, 3/4 cup, 2.9 oz 249 6
Veal Parmigiana 350 20