Italian restaurants are growing in popularity all across the nation. With their large portions and entertaining atmospheres, they can be a tempting place. But Italian food (especially the kind made in the US) can be some of the most unhealthy food available. Read these guidelines before visiting an Italian restaurant in order to make an educated choice about what foods are best for your health and your waistline.
Chicken Fettucine Alfredo
Chicken fettucine alfredo is probably the worst possible choice you can make at an Italian restaurant. Though it is incredibly delicious, Alfredo sauce is made almost totally from cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese (think heart attack in a bite). Most Italians restaurants serve this over fettucine, which while it does contain high amounts of carbohydrates which are essential to get you through the day, contains low levels of fiber and is loaded with simple sugars. Finally, the chicken in this dish is typically seasoned with high amounts of salt and other seasoning guaranteed to make you retain water.
Again, with the cheese. While this may initially sound like on the of the healthier dishes on the menu, don’t be fooled. Eggplant Parmesan is typically started by placing a fresh piece of eggplant in butter and breadcrumbs, and then fried until golden brown. The once healthy vegetable is then placed on a giant bed of pasta and covered with a healthy dose of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and placed under the broiler. Though the eggplant does contain certain vitamins and minerals which are essential for good health, the fat and calorie content of the meal far outweighs any health benefits.
But it’s salad! It should be healthy, right?! Wrong. Cesar salad fools you by throwing the “salad” part in there, but it actually is loaded with fat and calories. Cesar salad dressing alone can contain more fat calories than the rest of the entire salad! And that’s not even counting the chicken, which is traditionally served coated with salt and other salty seasonings. If you absolutely have to have a Cesar salad, ask the server to give you the dressing on the side (or skip it altogether), and ask for plain, grilled chicken breast. This salad does contain some healthy products such as lettuce, olives, and tomatoes–but it general, if you’re not paying close attention, you’ll get a dish that is just as bad for you as any of the others mentioned.
Tiramisu is probably the most well-known of all Italian desserts–and unfortunately, it is one of the most unhealthiest for you. Tiramisu is basically composed of ladyfingers, coffee, chocolate, milk, and sugar. While we are hearing more and more about the health benefits of dark chocolate, you aren’t always guaranteed to get dark chocolate in your tiramisu. In addition, most of the ladyfingers in tiramisu recipes are prepackaged–which means that they are must likely packed with artificial ingredients and sugar.