Italian Dining

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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!

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