Trying to make healthy choices in Italy is almost laughable. You’re in Italy. The sun is shinning, the wine is flowing and the pizza is unmatched. For dinner you splurge in gnocchi gorgonzola with bread and cheese. After your treat yourself to dessert and then you polish the night off with one more glass of wine.. This is the Italian dream. This is amazing. This is also my nightmare.
Since losing over 35 pounds travelling as become quite the nightmare for me. It’s hard enough to lose the weight but my god trying to keep it off is harder! It’s so hard for me to live a little when I travel because I always gain weight. And for those who know how hard it is to lose it in the first place maybe you can relate to the despair. I am still trying to work off the 10 pounds I gained. No joke! As I’m getting older all I hear is people saying “My metabolism is slowing down!” And I can’t relate because I never had one. Even smelling a baguette makes me gain 5 pounds.. It’s ridiculous. But because of it I really need to watch what I eat because I will blow up like a ballon (even though I knew that I still went a little food crazy as you do in Italy..). But near the end of the trip I started making the healthier choices in Italy. It was easier than I thought!
A Guide To Making Healthier Choices In Italy
Shop In The Grocery Store
I was shocked at how cheap the prices were in Italian grocery stores. For $1.25 Euro you can get the cutest salads and bread which are lifesavers if you’re trying to avoid the pizza and gelato. Shopping in grocery stores will not only save you money but calories as well. I know it seems like your sacrificing good food but honestly I bought ravioli at the grocery store with a little pesto container I found and it was so good. I had it every night for 3 nights in a row! To be healthy though I paired it with a garden salad and more pesto dressing! If you are in Italy then please try the pesto! It’s only a Euro and seriously the yummiest thing I’ve ever had. There is also amazing soup options in Italy! Barely soup is my favourite and there was no shortage of that!
If you have a travel partner see if you can con them to splitting a meal with you. That way if you order a salad you aren’t missing out because you get to split food! I find this is great because you’re not tempted to eat the whole pizza or pasta dish. Also if you need to order pizza get the marinara instead of any other cheesy ones because that will save you a ton of fat, calories, and prevent pimples popping up in the following days! No one wants that when you’re trying to pose for Instagram (add me here!)
Carry Healthy Snacks
I feel like all I talk about is snacks on Fernweh but snacks are a life saver. Buy some bananas, oranges or apples that are easy to carry around with you. This will save you from making panic decisions and getting something you’ll regret. But again remember the 80/20 rule. When you travel it’s okay to indulge, just make sure 80% of the time it’s good healthy choices 🙂
In Florence I went on a Kinder Surprise gelato hunt and ended up having 3 gelatos in the span of an hour. But I ordered the smallest size possible (look at me defending myself!). When you aren’t snacking on gelato every twenty minutes like I was, and had just ordered one small gelato, then you would have saved yourself a lot of sugar without sacrificing any goodness. A gelato tip is to stick to sorbets because there is no fat because it is just sugar, water and fruit!
Balance You Meals
Try to limit the amount of times you eat out in a day. Instead pick one meal that you eat out on and then stick to the grocery stores. As I’ve said grocery stores have so many pre made dishes that are ready to go. Add a size of quinoa to keep you a little more full if you need or better yet a delicious healthy soup!
Don’t Be Too Saucy
Choose your sauces wisely. Cream sauces are obviously going to be more fatty and higher in calories so choose something more red. Red sauces are often packed with vegetables and good things to keep you satisfied and are definitely the healthy choice. I know cream sauces make me sluggish and unable to move after.. Tomato sauces are also a great alternative.
A traditional biscotti is about 50 calories so that’s a great treat instead of the 300 calorie muffin. A glass of white wine should be around 120 calories and a glass of red is about 150 calories. Neither of these are going to break your diet if you only have one (or two..). A traditional espresso or americano has pretty much 0 calories so if you can skip on the milk and sugar you’ll save yourself some calories there. Or you can dip your biscotti in your coffee for a yummy mid morning treat. In Milan I found it a lot easier to eat healthier because there were so many vegan options. I found so many salads and smoothie places that you just have to look a little harder than you normally would if you want to be healthy!
Make Your Own Romantic Dinner
One of my favourite realizations was that Aaron and I didn’t need to hit a restaurant every night to make the night romantic. All we had to do was buy a cute dinner platter of fruit, roasted vegetables, some sort of specialty bread, cheese, a bottle of wine, and a salad. Wo made our own romantic dinner and honestly it felt pretty special. When you buy things yourself you don’t feel as guilty when you don’t finish your plate, so long are you’re eating more veggies and fruit than bread and pasta you’ll be just fine!
What are some of your healthy tips? Or do you just binge and then come home and try to detox? Share in the comments!