When you think of Italian food, you may think of many savory and indulgent things that would send the average American dieter’s head spinning. But, if you visit Italy, you will find that they are much fitter than you would expect. As it happens, they have many customs that help to keep them healthy that we could really learn a great deal from.
Here are four ways Italians keep their scrumptious menus on the table without breaking their belts.
Italians eat a small breakfast
Breakfast consists of coffee with milk and sugar, a small croissant or biscotti. Just enough to get the day going, not an enormous plate of eggs, bacon, waffles and syrup. And definitely no processed junk food. Breakfast is a small event. Lunch is the most important meal of the day and they save room for it.
Italians eat only fresh food
You would never catch Italians eating out of season frozen ingredients or frozen meals. If it’s not in season, they don’t have it. There’s no prepackaged low fat, sugar-free, non-fat nonsense. They eat a lot of fresh fish, leafy greens, tomatoes, zucchini, artichokes, eggplant, olives, lemons, and capers because these things are always available. Don’t expect to go to a restaurant and have your meal served within twenty minutes. They expect that you will take your time and enjoy your company so they will serve you at a leisurely pace, unlike a typical American restaurant.
They walk constantly. They walk for business and they walk for pleasure. Italians stroll through the main streets, lakes sides, the old town, and piazzas just for the sheer enjoyment of being outside- and the calorie expenditure really adds up. Most people will walk 40 minutes to an hour after eating dinner each night and, if you follow their example you’ll notice how good it feels. It improves the quality of both sleep and digestion.
Italians eat small portions
They will usually have primo (a small serving of pasta) and secondo (a preparation of protein and veggies) courses with their meals. If you told the average carb-avoiding American dieter that she should be eating pasta along with the main course she’d be shocked, because the American conception of a serving of pasta and an entrée are about three times the size of an average Italian serving. They take a small serving of pasta and because they know another course is on its way- as well as a serving of fresh fish, or meat with veggies- they don’t stuff themselves. And because they’ve already had their pasta course they won’t eat much of what comes after. It’s a nicely balanced way to eat! A good rule of thumb is to never have a serving of anything larger than one’s own hand.
There is a good chance you have never enjoyed genuine Italian dishes. Stop on in for dinner at L’amore Italian Restaurant to experience the taste of real Italian food.