You can eat Italian and still stick to your diet. Just follow these guidelines.
Step 1: Skip the garlic
Choose plain breadsticks or bread over the garlic variety, which is saturated with butter.
If you're dipping your bread, watch the olive oil! It's healthier than butter, but bread soaks it up like a sponge, making it easy to consume hundreds of extra calories without noticing.
Step 2: Pick at the antipasto
If you are served an antipasto plate – usually a spread of marinated vegetables, cheeses, and cured meats – stick with the veggies.
Step 3: Dress your salad
If you order a Caesar salad, ask the server to hold the croutons and extra grated cheese.
Step 4: Soup up your meal
If you feel like having a starter, fill up on a bowl of vegetable-heavy minestrone.
Step 5: Have the pasta
Enjoy an unstuffed pasta dish; just order it with marinara, meat, or clam sauce instead of cream sauce.
If you're dying for a diet-buster like fettucine Alfredo or spaghetti carbonara, get a half portion.
Step 6: Substitute
Ask if your chicken, fish, or veal can be broiled or grilled instead of fried or sauteed, and whether you can skip any breading or stuffing. Order vegetables on the side rather than pasta.
Step 7: Satisfy your sweet tooth
Satisfy your sweet tooth by choosing fruit sorbetto or nibbling a biscotto for dessert.
Fact: Diners ranked Italian food their favorite cuisine in the Zagat _Europe's Top Restaurants 2009_ guide, followed by French and Mediterranean.