How Do Italians Stay Thin Eating Pizza & Pasta All the Time? (2023)

How Do Italians Stay Thin Eating Pizza & Pasta All the Time? (1)

After living in Italy for three years, this is the best thing I learned: How Italians actually eat, and how they enjoy food and stay thin at the same time. These 13 ideas go way beyond “the Mediterranean diet.”

If you look at a menu in Italy, it seems like everything is carbs cooked in oil or heavy cream, then covered in cheese, with a side of cured meat. (Or at least those are the dishes that jump out at you.) Then you look around at the people in the restaurant, and you wonder: How do Italians stay so thin?

Why aren’t more Italians overweight, when they’re always eating pizza and pasta? And wine and dessert.

That’s the question I get all the time from Americans who’ve been to Italy, and from other Europeans, too. And with good reason!

The way Italians eat basically goes against everything we learn about food in the US – and the results are the opposite too.

The answer is more straightforward than I expected before Ilived in Italy, but it’s definitely not as simple as “the Mediterranean diet,”either.

We think of the Mediterranean diet as one singular thing: Fresh fruit, vegetables, olive oil, fish, nuts and wine. Not so much meat or cheese. No processed foods. Some parts of that are accurate, but it really isn’t how most people eat in Italy, either.

And of course, calling anything a “Mediterranean” diet is amajor oversimplification of the way people eat in the diverse countries aroundthe Mediterranean. From my experience, in Greece people eat tons of red meat.In Italy there’s a lot of cheese, and in France lots of cheese and butter.

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Even going up and down Italy, you’ll find wild variations in the cuisine from one region to the next, and different specialties from one town to the next. (This is one of my absolute favorite things about traveling in Italy.)

Some general differences: The South has much more fried and spicy food and (historically) more fresh olive oil. The North, especially up in the Alps, has more butter and dishes that are covered in melted cheese (and also, now, lots of fresh olive oil).

But there are several things that tie together the Italian way of eating, and they’re really different from how we’re taught to eat in the US.

There’s something on this list for everyone – from meat and beer, to snacks and vacations!

1. Italians Eat Food – Not Nutrients

You know how if you order a salad in the US, the server will probably ask if you want to “add some protein” to it? (Usually in the form of beef, chicken, salmon or tofu.) Italians don’t think of food this way, breaking it down to scientific components.

For the most part, people in Italy eat foods that haveevolved over centuries for nutrition and taste. They probably started asrecipes based on what was available and people’s tastes evolved with thedishes.

For example, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and extravirgin olive oil (a caprese salad) are a classic light lunch in Italy,maybe with some bread and/or greens. But Italians don’t order this thinking interms like protein + vegetable + omega 3s + carbs for energy, etc. They eat itbecause it’s what they grew up eating and it tastes good.

Food is food in Italy, not macronutrients.

And Italian food culture is really strong and reallytraditional, which means people don’t have to think so hard about what to eat.It’s programmed from birth by mothers and grandmothers.

2. Breakfast is Light… But Sweet

Italians eat a sweet breakfast that feels almost decadent byAmerican standards. It’s pleasurable, but still pretty low-caloriecompared with a breakfast sandwich, or a plate of eggs, bacon and hash browns.

(Video) What Italians Eat in a Day: How Do They Stay Slim Eating Pizza and Pasta? | Easy Italian 137

But it’s not like Italians eat a “diet” breakfast, either. Breakfast is always sweet – not light or low-fat – but it just isn’t a large meal.

Eggs are an ingredient in Italy, not a meal. There’s no meatat breakfast (ever) and no omelets, oatmeal, pancakes or waffles. (When you seethose offered at hotels, they’re for North American and British tourists. Thecold cuts, hard boiled eggs, and cucumbers on the breakfast buffet are forNorthern Europeans.)

Italian breakfast options are actually really limited:

Breakfast at a bar (which is like a coffeeshop, butalso offers lots of other services) is coffee and a pastry. The coffee iseither a cappuccino (about 6 ounces, max), or an espresso – withor without a dollop of milk foam (an espresso macchiato).

A bar might have non-dairy milk (I’ve only ever seen soy),but don’t even bother asking for skim.

The most common pastry is something like a French croissant– called a brioche in the North, and a cornetto in Central andSouthern Italy. But it’s often filled with chocolate, jam, cream, pistachio cream…the list of possibilities goes on. (While the French are 100% against fillingcroissants with anything but air and butter.)

Other options might be a narrow slice of cake (unfrosted),or a crostata – a tart made with jam or fruit.

Except in Sicily, where people slurp fresh granita (afrozen slushy-type treat) flavored with coffee or with local lemons, berries,pistachio or almonds for breakfast. It feels like eating ice cream forbreakfast, because Sicily is heaven.

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How Do Italians Stay Thin Eating Pizza & Pasta All the Time? (4)

At home, Italian breakfast is coffee with a few plain, dry, hard cookies. I know ­– that’s not a very appetizing description. But you won’t find oatmeal or chocolate chips or jam or coconut or nuts in Italian cookies, at least not the breakfast ones. (Actually, you don’t find oatmeal of any kind, ever, in Italy.) No frosting or sprinkles, either.

When I first moved to Milan, I saw nothing to like in thesecookies. But they grew on me. They’re plain and simple, but light and crumblyand perfect for soaking up coffee.

If you’re thinking, but how do they get enough protein?then don’t worry about it. That’s not a very Italian way to think.

3. They Eat One Food at a Time

I wrote a whole post about the art and structure of Italian meals, but this is the main idea: One food per plate, and one plate at a time.

If the most stereotypical, 1950s, home-cooked American meal is mashed potatoes, peas and meatloaf, you’d expect to find them all on the same plate. This is a foreign concept in Italy.

Even at home-cooked meals in Italy, you generally eat a first course (pasta, risotto or something carb-based) then clear away the plates. Then a second course (meat or fish) and a contorno, a vegetable side dish, which is served either with the second course or after – but not on the same plate.

I don’t know if this has been confirmed by science, but I think this orderly way of eating makes people eat less of each food.

Here’s why: When you have everything together, youcontinually change the flavor in your mouth, and never get sick of eating. Butwhen you eat one food at a time, you either get satisfied by the flavor or youjust realize more quickly that you’ve eaten enough, and end up eating less intotal.

This is just my theory, but I think it makes sense, no?

Be warned, though, that this can totally backfire – which happened to me more than once when I first moved to Italy. Like when you’re at a dinner party and don’t know what to expect, so you eat too much of one course because you didn’t realize how many more were coming up. Lesson learned: It’s okay to ask.

(Video) What Italians eat in a day? & How they stay fit in the land of pizza

4. Italians Don’t Snack

Snacking just isn’t done – except for little kids, of course.There are several reasons for this.

Meals are sacred in Italy. People make plans to sit down and eat with other people, they don’t just eat whenever they’re hungry (and then end up eating again when they meet up with people).

So you don’t grab a sandwich in the middle of the afternoonif you’re hungry. You generally just deal with being hungry until it’s dinnertime. (Or aperitivo time.)

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But I don’t think this is because Italians are all righteous and full of self-control. It’s because there’s a strong cultural taboo against eating outside of meal times. They feel like they really shouldn’t do it, even if maybe they’d like to.

Plus, meal times are really specific and inflexible. Lunchis 1pm to 2pm for basically everyone in Milan. Dinner is usually not before8pm.

And when Italians do snack, it’s much more likely to be apiece of fruit or a couple of crackers than a bag of chips or candy. What aremost snack foods in the US? Processed foods.

5. Italians Eat Fewer Processed Foods

Sure, this is changing a bit, as the whole world is changing. No culture remains the same forever, and Italy is starting to see more corporate influence from both foreign and Italian snack food and fast food brands. (Including Starbucks, which I wrote about when the very first Starbucks in Italy opened in Milan in 2019.)

There’s also more and more fast food available in Italy, andsome people are starting to have those sedentary lifestyles centered around acomputer with no exercise. These are definitely not good things but they’restill the exception, not the rule.

When you go to the grocery store in Italy, the selection of snack foods and candies available is just nothing like in the US. These foods are a much smaller part of people’s daily habits.

6. There Are No “Beverages”

Italians very rarely have drinks besides water between meals. (I’m afraid point #4 about not snacking throughout the day includes lattes.)

You just don’t see people walking down the street with a soda, a coffee cup, a milk tea or a smoothie. And a coffee break at work is a simple espresso (or a macchiato with a tablespoon of milk) down at the coffee bar, not a big sugary beverage that comes back to the desk.

But this goes beyond drinks between meals.

I’ve written before about how people will look at you funny if you order a cappuccino with savory food. Well, not only do Italians not drink coffee with food (except at breakfast) but they don’t drink almost any beverages with meals, except beer and wine. There’s no smoothie, milk, juice with lunch and definitely not with dinner. One exception is a small Coke for kids, or for adults who aren’t drinking beer or wine. (And it’s mostly as a way to not be left out.)

How Do Italians Stay Thin Eating Pizza & Pasta All the Time? (7)

The drink ofchoice is usually sparkling or still mineral water, no ice.

(It’s tough to get a glass of plain tap water in Italy. Youalmost always have to buy a bottle, although restaurants often use glassbottles, which are sometimes refilled over and over again at the source. Youcan tell by the horizontal ring of scratch marks at the shoulder of the bottle,from where it’s rubbed repeatedly against other bottles.)

Eliminating drinks with meals cuts a bunch of calories – but that’s usually not why Italians do it. They do it because they don’t want flavors competing with the delicious food they’re eating. The calories are just a bonus.

7. … And Way Less Beer

Italians don’t drink more than two beers in one casual setting.There are always exceptions (I have one friend in Italy who’s anexception) and, like everywhere else I’ve been in the world, clubs are adifferent story.

(Video) ITALIANS NEVER GET FAT? HOW ITALIANS STAY SKINNY? Secret of Italian Diet is Revealed. Roman Diet

But I realized this when I first moved to Milan and went over to a friend’s house for a casual aperitivo gathering. I popped open a beer and started drinking from the bottle, then I realized what everyone else was doing: Opening a bottle, pouring a quarter of it into a glass, and putting the rest back on the table for someone else.

Sure, they might drink several of these servings, but no one in the States would think of sharing a 12-ounce light beer any more than an Italian would think of sharing an espresso.

And it’s not because Italians make up for beer by drinking way more wine. They don’t. Heavy drinking just isn’t part of Italian culture.

A note for the Europeans reading this: In Chicago, where I’m based now, it’s not uncommon for people (mostly men) to go out for three or four pints after work. Maybe they even get to half a dozen if they stay out for dinner.

8. The Food System is Built on Seasonality, Freshness& Quality

Interest is growing in seasonal, local, and fresh foods inthe US, but our food system as a whole doesn’t prioritize those things, andpeople expect to eat the same foods year-around.

The idea of restaurants serving a menu that changes withwhat’s in season is pretty new in the US. But it’s very standard in Italy. What’smore, I think people in Italy are educated from birth to recognize quality –and complain about bad quality.

For more about this fascinating topic, I cannot recommend highly enough Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. (That’s an Amazon affiliate link. There’s a link at the end of this article for where to buy it that’s not Amazon, plus many more book recommendations!)

I love all of Pollan’s writing, and this is one of the first books that got me interested in food. It covers how the US food system works, and explores what ideas like organic, local, and plant-based actually mean, in a way that’s both rigorously researched and totally entertaining.

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9. People Cook Really Simple Food at Home

There are two parts to this:

  1. People cook at home, and
  2. Lots of Italian recipes are really simple, which is probably part of the reason people cook at home.

Of course not everyone in the country knows how to cook, or bothers. But when Italians do cook at home, it’s often from scratch – but it’s not that complicated! A lot of Italian dishes are really simple and don’t require the oven, a chunk of meat or multiple spices.

My favorite meals that we cook at home are easy, vegetable-heavy and meat-free. (Like this four-ingredient recipe for pasta with lentils!)

A pasta sauce is often just a few ingredients: Salt, water (do those even count as ingredients?), olive oil, garlic and/or onion, one spice or herb, and a vegetable. The vegetable could be anything – maybe tomatoes, broccoli, or zucchini – but not all at the same time.

If you know what you’re doing, that’s all it takes to make a delicious sauce out of exclusively fresh ingredients. No meat needed. And if you skip the dusting of freshly grated cheese on top, it’s even vegan.

10. Italian Cuisine Uses Meat For Flavor

Often dishes with meat use just a very small amount to addflavor, not as the focus of the dish. When I say small, I mean like one ounceof cured pork (like guanciale or pancetta) in a serving of pasta.

Yes, there are exceptions. Italy has lots of famous meatdishes, like Tuscany’s Bistecca alla Fiorentina – a cut of steak thatcan be four inches thick. Or Milan’s Cotoletta alla Milanese – basicallychicken-fried veal.

But those specific dishes are more like special treats. They’redefinitely not what people eat every day.

I’ve said for years that Italian cuisine is mostly carbscovered in cheese.

And it’s true, but I also think Italy is the easiest placein the world to avoid eating meat, and avoid most dairy if you want to. (The coupleounces of milk in a cappuccino are probably the hardest to avoid, as not allbars offer an alternative.)

Whereas in many European countries, most items on most menus include meat. In Italy, it’s much more balanced.

And the meat-free items are just as traditional as everything else – not tokens options for vegetarians.

(Video) If Pasta Is So Bad, Why Do Italians Live So Long? Italian Lifestyle & Longevity – Dr.Berg

There are even plentiful pizzas without cheese. But when a meal is carbs covered in cheese, another thing is different:

11. Portions Are Way Smaller

Portions in Italy are not what I would call small. But one thing I realized when we moved to Chicago is that my Italian husband and I can share almost any restaurant meal. This is not the case in Italy. It’s a whole different scale, and US portions are simply way bigger.

Yes, it’s true that everyone eats their own entire pizza in Italy – but everything about that pizza is completely different.

Napoli’s original pizza has a soft but very thincrust, cooked by a real fire on dry brick or stone – so no grease in the pan.The central flavor, the base of the pizza, is either fresh tomatoes or oliveoil and garlic (which is called pizza bianca, or white pizza). On top ofthat are just two or three toppings – not six or eight. If it has meat, it’salmost certainly one kind and not very much of it. If it has cheese, it’sscattered out in a few spots on top – not smothering the entire pizza.

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How Do Italians Stay Thin Eating Pizza & Pasta All the Time? (10)

12. Not Every Meal is Big

After a small breakfast, no oversized coffee + milk + sugar beverage,a reasonable lunch, and no snacks all day… yeah, dinner might be severalcourses.

But dinner isn’t always a big meal. And when it is,it’s the only meal of the day that’s big.

One exception to this is Christmas, when all bets are off.

And by Christmas, I mean the period from early December throughJanuary 6th. Meals during the holidays in Italy can become frequent,outrageous, never-ending feasts that are almost too much to even beenjoyable.

This past Christmas was my second one in Italy, and one day Iwatched an episode of an Italian talk show about food. One of the guests saidsomething brilliant about stressing over holiday weight gain:

“You don’t gain weight between Christmas and New Year’s, you gain weight between New Year’s and Christmas.”

I love this philosophy, and I feel like it’s followed pretty well in Italy. Allow yourself to indulge without feeling bad about it – but make sure indulgence is the exception, not the rule.

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13. La Dolce Vita: More Vacations & Less Stress

There are a lot of differences between life in Italy andlife in the US around stress, cash flow, and simplicity versus opportunity.That’s a topic for another post.

But I will say that I’ve experienced first-hand how much less stressful life is in Italy. (Even after the honeymoon effect wore off, and while I was unemployed, learning the language from scratch, going through the immigration process, and eventually keeping busy in grad school.)

Italians spend a lot more time on vacation than Americans. And a lot of things are simpler in Italy. The paychecks are nothing to write home about, and if you compare an Italian salary to a US one for the same job, it would sound like a poverty wage, but people don’t have to worry about health insurance or saving for retirement on their own. Fresh, local food is far less expensive, and families often live closer together and see each other more often.

If you’re still stressed after all that, hardly a month goes by without at least one long weekend. (Plus almost everyone takes at least a couple of weeks off both at Christmas and in August – without feeling guilty about it.)

This stuff adds up, and there are tons of studies about the effect of stress hormones on body weight. Being less stressed helps people focus on what’s important in life – like taking time to relax and enjoying good food.

More Great, Semi-Italian Food Writing:

In addition to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which I mentioned in #8, here are a few more books about food that I love, and find really relevant to the topic of how Italians eat in Italy. They’re not all about Italy specifically, but they really resonate with the ideas in this post.

(The first links are for Amazon; the second ones are for Bookshop –my favorite small-business alternative. Both are affiliate links, so if you buy anything through them, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.)

  • Heat, by Bill Buford. The story of an American magazine editor who moves to Italy to learn the secrets of Italian food. It’s hilarious and full of Italian culture and history, too! (On Bookshop here.)
  • In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. If The Omnivore’s Dilemma is Pollan’s all-around look at the food industry, this is more of a deep-dive into the more nutritional side. (On Bookshop here.)
  • Food Rules, also by Michael Pollan. I told you I love everything he writes! This is like a bullet-point version of In Defense of Food – most of the chapters are less than a page. It’s a very simple yet brilliant set of ideas for how to eat more healthily. (On Bookshop here.)
  • Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, by Sara Roahen. An entertaining, inside look at New Orleans cuisine – including its Italian influences, which also highlights the differences between Italian and Italian-American food. (On Bookshop here.)
Do you have questions about Italian food culture that I didn’t answer? Let me know in the comments below!
How Do Italians Stay Thin Eating Pizza & Pasta All the Time? (12)
(Video) DO ITALIANS EAT PIZZA AND PASTA ALL THE TIME? (and answering your other questions)

Related Posts:


How Do Italians Stay Thin Eating Pizza & Pasta All the Time? ›

Their foods contain little or no fatty creams and oils and are always in fairly sized portions. These eating habits are basically the proper way a person should eat if such a person chooses to eat healthy. Italians love to take vegetables, pasta, beans, fruit, bread, and nuts.

How do Italians eat pasta and not get fat? ›

Have you ever wondered why the Italian do not get fat despite an abundance of pizza, pasta, and dairy? Well, it is because of the Mediterranean diet! People in Italy enjoy a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, tomatoes, poultry, whole grains, olive oil, red wine, dairy ― and they consume very little red meat.

How do Italians stay thin with so many carbs? ›

According to Eva, the answer is that they use a different type of flour – Italian bread and pasta are made of durum wheat flour which doesn't spike your blood sugar levels as much and therefore it doesn't significantly contribute to weight gain as much as regular refined white flour would, for example.

How do Italians eat pasta every day? ›

Even at home-cooked meals in Italy, you generally eat a first course (pasta, risotto or something carb-based) then clear away the plates. Then a second course (meat or fish) and a contorno, a vegetable side dish, which is served either with the second course or after – but not on the same plate.

How do you eat pizza and stay thin? ›

You should only choose pizza toppings, which are good for your diet. Make sure that you do not add too much cheese and bread. A thin crust is best, and vegetables and protein-rich toppings are a great way to go. You will need to eat less to lose weight, which is why the size of the pizza you make is important.

How do Italians eat pasta everyday and stay skinny? ›

Their foods contain little or no fatty creams and oils and are always in fairly sized portions. These eating habits are basically the proper way a person should eat if such a person chooses to eat healthy. Italians love to take vegetables, pasta, beans, fruit, bread, and nuts.

How do Italians eat so much pasta and stay slim? ›

They eat only one food at a time

With healthy ingredients and smaller potions, most things are comparatively healthy. Italians practice eating only one food at a time. Each course is small and followed by another plate. So, they don't overindulge.

What is the least fattening Italian dish? ›

7 Healthy Italian Dishes That Still Taste Amazing
  1. Minestrone Soup. People who are interested in low-calorie Italian food will fall in love with minestrone soup. ...
  2. Steamed Clams. ...
  3. Roasted Chicken. ...
  4. Eggplant Parmigiana. ...
  5. Whole Wheat Spaghetti Aglio Oglio. ...
  6. Cheese Ravioli. ...
  7. Chicken Cacciatora.
Dec 30, 2019

What is the main diet of Italy? ›

Italy has been traditionally linked to the Mediterranean diet since the pioneering work of Keys et al. [12]. The traditional Italian cuisine is typically based on large quantities of vegetables, fruit, cereals, legumes, nuts, and limited amounts of animal products.

What is the typical daily diet in Italy? ›

A typical Italian diet consists of three meals in a day. The most common foods in the Italian diet include pasta, cheese, vegetables, olive oil, meats, and wine. Italians give a lot of importance to fresh ingredients. They use seasonal ingredients to prepare meals.

What pasta dish do Italians eat the most? ›

Penne. Italy's most popular pasta is penne. This quill-shaped pasta is unusual in that it has a very precise origin. It was born in 1865, with a new device patented by Giovanni Battista Capurro in the small town of San Martino d'Albero, near Genoa.

What do Italians eat for breakfast? ›

Italians eat predominantly sweet things for breakfast. This can be quite a shock if you are used to having toast, eggs, and bacon first thing in the morning. Instead, the traditional breakfast in Italy relies almost exclusively on baked goods like biscuits, cookies, pastries, rusks, and cakes.

What are the 4 food rules in Italy? ›

What do you need to know when eating in Italy?
  • Avoid ordering risotto as an appetizer.
  • Pasta and salad don't go together.
  • Chicken carbonara is not a legitimate dish.
  • Chicken parmesan is not an Italian dish.
  • Fettuccine Alfredo is not a part of traditional Italian cuisine.
  • Italians only drink wine or water while eating.

Why does Italy have low obesity? ›

Besides portion control, Italian culture plays a huge role in the success of the Mediterranean diet. Rarely do Italians eat on the go; meals are sit-down affairs that are — whether formal or informal — a social occasion. Food is often shared family-style, and sad desk lunches are unheard of.

Why are Italians so healthy? ›

Reason 1: Italians Eat Fresh Food

The first reason Italians are so healthy is that they eat food that is fresh. It's been that way for generations. Unfortunately, supermarkets are now slowly taking over the small, family-run shops which primarily dominated the market in previous times.

How do you not gain weight after eating pizza? ›

How to eat your pizza and not gain weight
  1. Halve your cheese. What makes a slice of pizza delectable is its cheese fillings. ...
  2. Top it right. ...
  3. Thinner the better. ...
  4. Choose your appetisers wisely. ...
  5. Think twice before you Sip. ...
  6. Share your pie. ...
  7. Avoid pizzas for dinner.
Nov 30, 2017

Why do Italians eat pasta all the time? ›

One of the pillars of Italian culture is family and the importance of spending time together. Making and eating pasta together as a family is just one of the few ways that Italians do this– that's why you've probably heard so much about Italian grandmothers spending hours making and cooking pasta for the whole family!

How many times a day do Italians eat pasta? ›

Most Italians eat pasta every day but they keep their portions in check. A portion in Italy is about a cup and the meal includes a small portion of meat and a large portion of vegetables and salad. In Canada we typically serve 3-4 cups of noodles covered in cheese, meat or both.

How do Italians make pasta healthy? ›

Italians manage their portions and usually eat foods within the Mediterranean diet, which features fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, peas, beans, olive oil, poultry, and fish. Italians also manage their portions. A typical pasta portion is about 1 to 1 ½ cups per person. They also vary their pasta toppings.

Why do Italians care if you break pasta? ›

The reason why you should not break pasta is that it's supposed to wrap around your fork. That's how long pasta is supposed to be eaten. You rotate your fork, and it should be long enough to both stick to itself and get entangled in a way that it doesn't slip off or lets sauce drip from it.

Do Italians eat pasta every night? ›

How often do Italians eat pasta? Italians tend to eat pasta EITHER at lunch time OR at dinner time, but rarely both.

Do Italians eat pizza everyday? ›

Pizza in the Italian culture is not an everyday food, but, rather, a food to be enjoyed when going out. Unlike pasta, which is eaten at home, for some on a daily basis, pizza is eaten at the restaurant in the vast majority of cases.

What is the number 1 Italian dish? ›

Pizza. Number one on our list of the best traditional foods in Italy has to be pizza. Everyone knows what pizza is, it needs no introduction, but what you probably know as pizza isn't quite the same as in Italy.

What is the healthiest Italian pizza? ›

Pizza Marinara, for example, contains no cheese. This is without doubt the healthiest pizza around! It is also one of the 2 most traditional Neapolitan pizzas, the other being the Pizza Margherita.

Which is healthier pasta or pizza? ›

When it comes to health, you can choose either, but the type of pizza or pasta you compare will determine which is healthier. A tomato-based pasta is preferable to pizza or cream-based pasta. Thin crust, veggie-loaded pizzas contain less flour and more vegetables, making them an excellent choice.

What time do Italians eat breakfast? ›

The Typical Italian Breakfast

Breakfast or la colazione, is usually eaten at the bar, the Italian equivalent of a cafe or coffee shop, or at home from 7:00 to 10:30am.

What do most Italians eat for lunch? ›

A typical Italian lunch consists of a primo (pasta, soup or risotto dish), a secondo (meat or fish-based dish) and a contorno (side dish). Italians love their carbs and enjoy adding freshly grated Parmesan cheese to their dishes. Italians also exhibit a truly incredible talent for reinventing leftovers.

How to eat like an Italian and lose weight? ›

To blast over-50 fat the Italian-Mediterranean way, incorporate one cup of beans or peas and two to three tablespoons of olive oil daily into meals packed with veggies, herbs, spices, and fruit. Add moderate amounts of seafood, poultry, nuts, whole grains, and wine. Limit meat, sweets, and processed food.

What time do Italians go to bed? ›

11:00pm – Midnight.

What do Italians eat for dinner everyday? ›

Dinner (Cena)

A typical dinner at an Italian home is usually pasta, meat, and vegetables, and takes place around 8 p.m. Going out for dinner in Italy is a pretty big thing to do, or eat, for that matter: Several courses, wine, and a long time chatting and lingering are all part of the event.

Do they eat eggs in Italy? ›

Eggs in Italian cuisine. Whereas eggs in the United States are primarily a breakfast item it's the opposite in Italy. Italians often have eggs for dinner and in classic lunchtime dishes like pasta carbonara.

What are 3 ways Italians serve pasta? ›

Pasta is often served as a primo (first course), with a meat, seafood or vegetable course called a secondo coming after that. To do as the Italians do, try serving a smaller portion of pasta as a primo for an Italian-inspired dinner party, or as precursor to a meat, fish or vegetable main.

What is spaghetti called in Italy? ›

"Spaghetto" Is the Singular Word for "Spaghetti," and the Internet May Never Be the Same. FYI: It's not "that noodle."

What is pasta called in Italy? ›

Penne, rigatoni, macaroni, paccheri, tortiglioni, trenne, manicotti, ditalini, cannelloni.

What fruit is eaten for breakfast in Italy? ›

For a healthy and filling breakfast, top it up with different types of fruit that are popular in Italy. Some of the most common Italian fruits include bananas, apples, oranges, pineapples, and strawberries. If you can find them fresh, this is a great way to get some nutrients and energy first thing in the morning.

What is an Italian snack? ›

An Italian snack is known as spuntino, a term which can include anything from olives and crisps to small plates shared between friends. Bars and cafés might serve spuntino in a similar way to tapas, and while they wouldn't be eaten as the opener to a larger meal elements of antipasto are commonly consumed as snacks.

What is the most popular dessert in Italy? ›

Tiramisù (Veneto)

Probably the most famous of all Italian desserts, Tiramisù is a powerful layering of coffee-soaked savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits) and a rich cream made with mascarpone cheese, eggs and sugar, sometimes spiced up with a drop of liqueur.

What are 3 taboos in Italy? ›

The most important taboos you should avoid are:
  • Asking an Italian if they have a relative or a friend who's in the mafia. ...
  • Ordering a cappuccino after noon. ...
  • Putting cheese on fish. ...
  • Serving food in different plates. ...
  • Entering a home with an open umbrella or openning it once you're inside.
Feb 6, 2022

What is Italy's favorite drink? ›

It should come as no surprise that wine is one of the most popular Italian drinks. Both the production and consumption of wine play an important role in Italian history and culture.

What do Italians drink after dinner? ›

What is a digestivo? Digestivi (“digestives,” in English) are often in the class of amari, or Italian bitters. Amari are made by infusing grape brandy with a blend of herbs, flowers, aromatic roots and bark, citrus peels, and spices.

What makes Italian pasta healthier? ›

Italian Food Is Focused on Fresh Ingredients

Eating fresh, not frozen vegetables, seafood, and pasta is healthier because there are fewer processed ingredients. Take pasta, for example. Fresh pasta is made from flour, egg, and water. That's it!

Is pasta in Italy more healthy? ›

Italian pasta typically has strict government quality standards and control around it, and is made with 100% durum wheat, called semolina flour, or semola di grano duro in Italian. This means that not only is the pasta higher in protein, but more importantly it stands up to the rigours of cooking well.

Is pizza fattening or not? ›

Eating refined grain products — such as ready-made meals like pizza — has been linked to weight gain. A study in 1,352 people found that people who consumed over 70 grams of ready-made products like pizza daily were more likely to have more belly fat than those who consumed under 70 grams per day ( 7 ).

What is the healthiest pasta for weight loss? ›

In fact, whole wheat or whole grain pasta is the best option for weight loss as whole wheat pasta takes longer to digest than pasta made from refined flour. Slower digestion means blood sugar will rise slowly after consumption, preventing your body from storing excess fat.

Which is better rice or pasta? ›

For lower calorie and carbohydrate content, rice comes out top. But if protein and fibre is your aim, pasta wins over rice. That said, both can play a part in a healthy diet - and as the nutritional differences are quite small, it often comes down to which you would prefer.

What's the healthiest Italian pasta dish? ›

Best: Spaghetti Marinara

If you're craving pasta, this is a pretty healthy choice. Start with whole wheat spaghetti, and add a touch of olive oil to the marinara sauce. It's OK because it helps your body absorb an important tomato nutrient (lycopene) that protects your cells.

What does an Italian woman eat in a day? ›

A typical Italian diet consists of three meals in a day. The most common foods in the Italian diet include pasta, cheese, vegetables, olive oil, meats, and wine. Italians give a lot of importance to fresh ingredients. They use seasonal ingredients to prepare meals.

What is the healthiest Italian food to eat? ›

What Are the Healthiest Options at Italian Restaurants?
  1. Grilled calamari. Fried calamari, a.k.a. squid, can be a calorie-laden appetizer — but its grilled counterpart can be a healthier option. ...
  2. Bruschetta. ...
  3. Caprese salad. ...
  4. Mussels in white wine. ...
  5. Gnocchi. ...
  6. Charcuterie. ...
  7. Minestrone.
Mar 6, 2023

What is the healthiest meat to add to pasta? ›

Choose lean cuts such as Sirloin, Top Round or 93% ground beef. The best part – it is easy to include variety of vegetables for the extra nutrition, such as this Top Sirloin Filets with Spinach-lemon Pesto Pasta.

What is a normal lunch in Italy? ›

A typical Italian lunch consists of a primo (pasta, soup or risotto dish), a secondo (meat or fish-based dish) and a contorno (side dish). Italians love their carbs and enjoy adding freshly grated Parmesan cheese to their dishes. Italians also exhibit a truly incredible talent for reinventing leftovers.

Do Italians eat a lot of vegetables? ›

The traditional Italian cuisine is typically based on large quantities of vegetables, fruit, cereals, legumes, nuts, and limited amounts of animal products.

Is Italy healthier than America? ›

But here's the rub: Italians are much healthier than Americans in terms of everything from overall health longevity, infant mortality, obesity, cancer, diabetes, suicide, drug overdoses, homicides, and disability rates. On many of those measures, they beat out the UK as well.

How do Italians get protein? ›

Most Italian dishes use the healthier, white meats and fish. Both are excellent sources of protein and lower in fat than red meats. Fish also offers essential fatty acids and minerals, which are necessary for overall well-being.


1. Why Are Italians Not Fat (In Spite of Eating Pasta)?
(Domain Rome)
2. 🍽️ Why Are Italians Skinny, If They Eat Lots Of Carbs & Fats?
(Dr Sam Robbins)
3. Why I eat Pasta and Pizza (to stay fit)
(Pietro Boselli)
4. How do Italians Eat Pasta Everyday and Stay so Healthy?
(Alex Morris)
5. ROMAN Pizza (...and the myth of "Italian" pizza)
(Pasta Grammar)
6. Also, they don’t eat pizza and pasta all the time #Romeitalytravel #italy #rome #italian
(Rome Italy Travel)
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