Delicious Italian Dining
Dining out Italian can bring a delicious, heart-healthy meal if you follow these tips:
• Pasta sauces to watch out for include: bolognese (request marinara instead), alfredo and cream based sauces (request broth with parmesan on the side) and pesto (request broth and fresh herbs with parmesan on the side). Best bets are marinara or tomato-basil based sauces. Sauteed items can be prepared with broth, wine, tomatoes or water in place of the oil.
• Skinless chicken breast strips or seafood can replace meat items which are high in fat; some meat items to avoid are: meatballs, pancetta (a spiral shaped Italian bacon), ham, beef and sausage.
• Not all cheeses are taboo. Hard cheeses such as romano or parmesan add a lot of flavor, without a lot of calories and fat (1.5 grams of fat per tablespoon). Cheeses to be omitted include: fontina, gorgonzola (Italian blue cheese), mascarpone (Italian double-fatted cream cheese), mozzarella, ricotta (unless specified lowfat on the menu) and anything with the word formaggio (Italian word for cheese).
• When looking for a bread spread, instead of plunging into the olive oil, pesto or butter, consider marinara sauce (which is great cold) or balsamic vinegar. Roasted garlic is very mellow in flavor and also a good choice. Focaccia bread generally contains a fair amount of olive oil while sour dough or Italian does not.
• Salads can be ordered with nonfat dressing, balsamic vinegar or the dressing to the side. If you like the flavor of a Caesar salad, order the romaine lettuce to be tossed with 1 teaspoon of dressing and 1 tablespoon of vinegar (omit the anchovies and croutons).
As with any restaurant, don’t be limited by what is exactly listed for a menu item. In today’s competitive marketplace, few good operators will turn down your special needs!
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.