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Sticking to your Diet in Italy


For someone who's watching their carbohydrate intake, a trip to Italy is a hotbed of temptation: pasta, breads and creamy desserts. You don't want to pack on the pounds, but you don't want to nibble carrot sticks throughout your trip and waste the opportunity to "taste" the culture.

The key is moderation: eat sensibly on the right food; take off the edge of hunger, so you can savor the "sinful" pleasures without overloading on the calories.

It helps to carry small plastic bags with raw vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, pretzels and crackers in your bag. If your plane is delayed, or if your museum tour extends past your lunch hour, you won't be ravenous by the time you sit down for a meal.

Be "good" during breakfast: instead of a roll or a pastry, eat a high-fiber, high-energy bran bar. You'll feel less guilty about ordering pasta for lunch, and there's nothing on the menu that you can’t have at home. Don't skip breakfast, as hunger will force you into making poor food choices; one advantage of energy bars is you can eat them on the go if you have an early morning itinerary.

Ask your hotel front desk to recommend nearby restaurants with healthy food options, and get directions for local markets where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

At restaurants, ask sauces to be served on the side and substitute a baked potato for chips, or lettuce and vinaigrette instead of coleslaw. Go ahead and sample a regional specialty, but if it's a diet disaster, get a half order or split it with somebody else. Given a choice, get a tomato-based pasta sauce over cream-based; get chicken, turkey and game meat instead of beef; and get bleu cheese or Italian salad dressings.


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