Bread sticks or bruschetta? Alfredo or marinara? Affogato or gelato? Dining out at a luscious Italian eatery can pose some agonising conundrums. Shubhra Krishan suggests smart ways to get all the flavour without the fat:

italian cuisine eat light

  • Don’t stuff yourself on the bread or breadsticks. Munch on bruschetta instead—the fresh tomatoes on it are loaded with vitamins and minerals, the extra virgin olive oil and basil are wonderful antioxidants, the calorie count is low (approx 80 cal a slice).
  • Don’t skip the insalata. Italian salads can be incredibly flavorful, provided you are careful to avoid creamy (read fattening) dressings.
  • Enjoy Minestrone soup—it is wonderfully satisfying and abounds in health-giving veggies and beans. A 200 gm bowl of minestrone contains just about 200 calories, so yes, soup’s on!
  • Balsamic roasted or grilled vegetables are not only delicious but light and nutritious. A full cup contains only 100 healthy calories! In fact, most dishes cooked in olive oil instead of butter are beneficial for you.
  • Choose a light and nourishing tomato based sauce over alfredo, which combines butter, cheese and cream. Marinara is fresh and delicious, too. Psst: Just 1/4 cup of alfredo sauce contains 90 fat calories! Compare this with 100 gm of marinara, which has only 1.5 gm of fat cals!
  • Keep the pasta light. Nothing quite beats the flavour of Aglio Olio pasta which is tossed in olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs. Low in calories and full of nutrients.
  • Have cheese on your pizza, but ask them to use less of it or reduced-fat variety. If that isn’t an option, simply share with a friend.
  • A gelato or sorbet is perfect for the sweet touch you crave. Dense, creamy and delicious, gelatos have half the calories of ice-cream. And guess what: they contain high levels of protein, vitamin B, calcium and phosphorus; making them a health friendly food!
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