When you think of Italian cuisine, what words come to mind? Hearty, filling, abundant — these are all accurate descriptions of Italian fare. So when a friend or coworker suggests you eat lunch at an Italian place, you may assume this means you'll spend the rest of the day feeling stuffed and overly full. Thankfully, this does not have to be the case. There are ways to dine light at an Italian restaurant so you can indulge in delicious food without feeling heavy all afternoon.
Antipasto is usually on the menu as an appetizer, but you can certainly order it as a lunch main course. Basically, it is a selection of sliced cheese, meats, olives, tomatoes, and sometimes other finger foods. Being able to nibble at the various finger foods will keep you busy throughout the lunch hour, but the meal will be a lot lighter, overall, than an order of pasta and pizza. The beauty of Italian cuisine is largely in the simplicity of the ingredients, and ordering antipasto lets you experience these ingredients simply and at their best.
Stick With a Clear Soup
Italian restaurants often have soups. They tend to serve them as an appetizer at dinner, but you can order just a bowl of soup for lunch. The best soups to order for a light lunch are any of those with clear broths, since they tend to contain less fat and be less filling. Minestrone is a classic that is made with tomatoes, veggies, and beans, and it's absolutely delicious with a slice or two of good Italian bread dipped into it.
Order Pasta With Basil Pesto
If you want to take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy pasta, order a plate of pasta with basil pesto. The basil pesto is lighter than most other sauces you'll find on Italian pasta dishes. It also has a pretty bold flavor, which will keep you from wanting to overeat. You can put half of the portion straight into a takeout container if you want to make sure you don't overeat. That way, you'll stay light and have leftovers for later in the day.
Share A Main Dish and Some Salads
Even though Italian restaurants do tend to have good salad, you might feel cheated if you order just a salad. Here's a good compromise; order a main dish to share with a friend, and then each order a salad. You can then enjoy just a small portion of the more filling main dish along with plenty of light, healthy salad.
If you're interested in Italian private dining for your next lunch, contact a local restaurant for more information.