By Jessica Ward
Are you heading for the glories of Rome, the marvels of Venice or just for some Italian beach life? The sights are going to be wonderful – but is all that delicious Italian food a risk to your waistline?
Good news – there’s no need to worry. The secret is to eat like the Italians do. That means moving to their portion sizes, order of eating and ways of doing things.
Pasta isn’t an enemy; whole grains and carbs are essential for a healthy diet. In the UK we tend to eat pasta as a main course, with lots of sauce and in big portions. That isn’t the Italian way. They eat their pasta as a ‘primo’ or first course, preceded by an appetiser known as an ‘antipasto’ (‘before the pasta’). So the pasta portions are much smaller than we would have, and it is the pasta itself that is the centre of the dish, not the sauce. As always, make sure that you don’t order too much!
Pizza is another dish that it would be criminal to omit during your holiday. Real Italian pizza is what we call ‘thin-crust’ – no deep-pan or stuffed crust here! Plenty of vegetables and wonderful olive oil as a topping makes for a delicious feast.
Main courses or secondo are based round fresh, seasonal food. Simple, well-cooked cuts of meat or fish with vegetables and herbs are a healthy delight, so enjoy. Salad is traditionally served after the secondo.
Finally, we all know that we have to go easy on the desserts – but a small gelato or meltingly-light Italian pastry is a perfect treat. You can always join the post-dinner passegiata to work it off.
Eat the Italian way and all will be well! Buon Appetito!
never mind, Tanya - if you are like me I found that after Italian ice cream I couldn't be bothered with the UK variety. So it was a long-term diet improvement.
We went to Rome this summer and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a challenge sometimes. There are SO many opportunities to over indulge but we tried not to have gelato every day!
Emma - scandalous! Sounds like the lunch box police need some science lessons!
Try telling dinner ladies that pizza is a health food. They labelled it as junk food in my son's lunchbox!! This was homemade with wholemeal dough and tomato topping.
how refreshing to read that pasta isn't the enemy, in such an 'anti-carb' world. We just need portion control.