Eating out on a diet at the Olive Garden Italian restaurant is not as difficult as it sounds.
With their “Garden Fare” nutritional information guide, it’s easy to identify the best options depending if you are worried more about low fat, carbohydrates, limiting sugar or if you aim to order only gluten-free items.
While eating out on a diet I usually like to be a good gluten-free girl, but I don’t have celiac disease or other health issues so I have room for some flexibility. Therefore, I selected Minestrone soup with 100 calories and the Grilled Chicken Spiedini with 380 calories, 12 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber. It was listed under the “low fat” selections, but not part of the gluten-free menu.
If you are eating out while on a particular diet at the Olive Garden, follow these following five tips:
No. 1: Tip for eating out on a diet at the Olive Garden Italian restaurant: Olive Garden is perfect for people on Weight Watchers. For lunch, focus on high-fiber and low-fat selections such as the Capellini Pomodoro with 11 grams of fiber and 11 grams of fat or the Shrimp Primavera with 9 grams of fat and 12 grams of fiber.
No. 2: Tip for eating out on a diet at the Olive Garden Italian restaurant: Select the soup instead of the salad at the Olive Garden. The Minestrone soup has only 100 calories, 1 gram of fat and 3 grams of fiber. If you do have salad, skip the croutons and have the low fat Italian dressing or the low fat Parmesan peppercorn dressing with 2 grams or less of fat per fluid ounce.
No. 3: Tip for eating out on a diet at the Olive Garden Italian restaurant: Be aware the numbers go up if you have the dinner portion instead of the lunch portion. For example, the 480 calories for the Capellini Pomodoro at lunch turns into 840 calories as the dinner portion. For dinner, please have them give you a box as soon as your food arrives and put half in the box for lunch the next day!
No. 4: Tip for eating out on a diet at the Olive Garden Italian restaurant: If you are on a gluten-free diet, try the Pennine Rigate with marinara. They actually offer a gluten- free penne pasta which is just outstanding for a restaurant chain. Very few Italian restaurants go to the trouble to provide a gluten-free pasta for their customers. It’s my personal opinion gluten-free pasta is a better alternative for anyone on a diet, not just those with celiac disease who can’t tolerate wheat. Other great gluten-free options include herb-grilled salmon, mixed grill and steak toscano.
No. 5: Tip for eating out on a diet at the Olive Garden Italian restaurant: For dessert, share something geared for dieters such as the Torta di Chocolate with 75 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and 49 grams of sugar alcohols. Split the dessert with your friends or take some home.
When dining out on a diet at the Olive Garden, avoid drinks with calories by ordering unsweetened iced tea with lemon, lemon water or coffee with no cream or sugar. Also, skip the breadsticks or save them for someone who needs to be fattened up! If you must have one, try to get in a good aerobic exercise that day.
Five days on a diet reviewer’s bottom line on the Olive Garden: Thumbs up!