Italian food

With the pizza, lasagna, garlic bread and decadent gelato, there’s no doubt that Italian food is delicious! However, it can also be packed with calories as many dishes incorporate cheese, red meats and cream. This article takes a few Italian favourites, including pizza, and gives you some ideas about how to lighten the calorie load so that you can enjoy the delights of Italian cuisine without worrying so much about your waistline.*


Naples is widely considered the birthplace of the pizza, where it started its life as a humble flatbread that was topped with tomatoes and a little oil. Since then, a diversity of toppings has emerged and, nowadays, pizza is often piled with cheese and topped with fatty meats. To lighten the calories, simply take the pizza back to its roots: skip the meat and cheese and instead opt for a Marinara, which is the pizza base topped with a herby tomato sauce – you can also add chili flakes for a spicy kick. Alternatively, instead of cheese, load your pizza base with veggies and drizzle, once cooked, with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Grilled courgette (zucchini), mushrooms, aubergine (eggplant) and peppers work really well and you can also garnish the pizza with chili flakes or rocket for some fire! If you don’t want to skimp on protein, opt for seafood such as prawns or calamari, which is naturally lower in fat and calories. You can also switch out the deep pan for a more authentic thin crust to save on calories.


Lasagna is quintessentially Italian and the ultimate decadent meal, with layers of minced beef, pasta and creamy béchamel sauce, all topped with a melted cheese crust. To lighten the calories, try making a veggie lasagna, with your choice of tasty vegetables. The Italy Twin Centre Holidays team love using exotic mushrooms and spinach as a healthier alternative. You can also save some calories by skipping the cheese crust and instead topping your lasagna with golden breadcrumbs before baking.

Garlic bread

There’s surely nothing better than a crusty baguette oozing with garlic butter fresh from the oven. Unfortunately, garlic bread is not as good for the waistline as it is for the taste buds! If you can’t bear the thought of pasta without a side of garlic bread, try slicing a baguette into munchable wedges, rub each slice with a clove of garlic and sprinkle over Italian dried herbs, then drizzle with a little olive oil and either bake on grill to get a golden crust.


Gelato is not just the Italian word for ice-cream; there are distinct differences between the two (see Bellarome's recent blog post for more on this). However, they do have one thing in common: both gelato and ice-cream are rich in calories! If you want to enjoy a creamy frozen dessert but skip the fat and calories, try blending frozen bananas in a high-speed blender – the result is surprisingly similar to ice-cream and you can add your own flavours, such as cocoa powder for chocolate or frozen strawberries for strawberry flavour “nice-cream”!

If the thought of messing with Italian culinary masterpieces gives you the shivers then another option is to enjoy your favourite dishes in their authentic form, but opt for a smaller portion and fill the remainder of your plate with greens, which are popular side dishes in Italy. The Italy Twin Centre Holidays team love rocket and watercress salads or wilted spinach cooked with chili flakes. After all, the most important thing is that you enjoy your meals!

*We know that many Italians are proud of their culinary heritage – we apologise in advance for butchering your recipes!

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