Whether it's pizza or pasta, there are a few more tips to add to your menu-sleuthing. You can eat fewer calories while eating Italian, but you need to know some pitfalls to avoid.
- Salad, with dressing on the side.
- Marinara or tomato sauce.
- Pasta lightly tossed with olive oil -- ask your server to be sure only a small amount of oil is used in preparing your pasta.
- Pizza without cheese. Get extra tomato sauce and plenty of veggies instead, and maybe some grilled chicken, too.
- Pizza with thin crust or whole-wheat crust.
- Plain Italian bread.
- Dishes in which vegetables or beans play a starring role.
- Pasta stuffed with vegetables, such as spinach or squash.
- Dishes made with grilled chicken, meats, or seafood and fresh or steamed vegetables.
- Italian ice or fresh fruit.
- Antipasto, which usually includes high-fat meats, olives, and cheeses along with marinated vegetables.
- High-fat white sauces, such as Alfredo.
- Pasta swimming in olive oil.
- Pizza with extra cheese or only cheese.
- Pizza with thick crust or cheese-stuffed crust.
- Pre-buttered garlic bread.
- Meat-based dishes, especially veal.
- Pasta stuffed with cheeses.
- Dishes made with breaded and fried meats or eggplant, as are often used in lasagna or "parmesan" dishes.
- Tiramisu, cannolis, and gelato, which are made with high-fat ingredients.