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How to Eat Healthy in Italy

by
author image Alia Butler
Alia Butler holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, concentrating in mental health, and a Master of Arts in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Currently, Butler is a freelance writer, penning articles focusing on mental health, healthy living and issues surrounding work-life balance. She is the principle/owner of ALIA Living, LLC, providing residential interior design services, professional organizing and life coaching.
How to Eat Healthy in Italy
Generally, westernized Italian foods contain more cheese and meat than traditional varieties. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

People travel to Italy not only for the history, architecture and beautiful countryside, but also for the food and wine. Despite how Italian food may be served outside of Italy, traditional Italian food is based on the use of a rich amount of vegetables, grains, beans and olive oil. The majority of the diet comes from plants and only a small amount of dairy or red meat is consumed. Therefore, traditional Italian food can be healthy. To eat healthy while traveling in Italy you will need to seek out traditional foods and avoiding over-consumption.

Step 1

Steer clear of the fast food places that have begun to pop up in Italy. Similar to their counterparts in the United States, these fast food and commercialized restaurants contain an assortment of high-fat and high-calorie foods, which veer from more traditional dishes in the Italian diet.

Step 2

Eat at restaurants that offer traditional Italian foods. Look for items made with olive oil, pasta, rice tomatoes and a considerable amount of vegetables. Traditional Italian diets, composed of lots of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and healthy fats, are based on a Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to lower rates of heart disease.

Step 3

Avoid foods that contain a significant amount of cream-based products, red meat or process meats. These dishes will contain high amounts of both saturated fat and calories, which are not part of a healthy diet. These foods can cause weight gain, rises in your cholesterol and increase your risk of constipation.

Step 4

Limit your portions. Split meals with people you are traveling with to help reduce your temptation to overeat. Leave a fourth of your meal uneaten if you have no one to share with.

Step 5

Limit your intake of alcohol to one drink per day. Wine is a common drink in Italy, but drinking too much can add excess calories to your diet, increase your blood pressure and potentially cause damage to your liver. Also, too much alcohol may cause you to continue eating even when you are no longer hungry, which can contribute to unhealthy weight gain.

Step 6

Eat breakfast. Even if you are in a hurry while you are traveling in Italy, get something to eat for breakfast. Skipping breakfast can cause your metabolism to decrease and leave you feeling fatigued. Breakfast will kick start your metabolism and provide you with the nutrients necessary to help you stay healthy while you are traveling.

Step 7

Drink water throughout the day. Adequate intake of water can help you avoid dehydration while you are traveling around Italy. Also, by drinking water regularly you can help keep your digestive system working properly and avoid any risk of constipation.

Step 8

Eat small snacks throughout the day if you want to try many of the foods available in Italy. Consume a small meal or snack every two to three hours. This will not only keep your metabolism and energy levels elevated, but it will also allow you to try many traditional Italian foods without experiencing weight gain.

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