Worst Italian Dishes for Your Health

Worst Italian Dishes for Your Health

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Worst: Deep Dish Meat-Lover’s Pizza

That deep dish means a thicker crust with more carbohydrates.

That deep dish means a thicker crust with more carbohydrates. Those “carbs” are the type of calories that enter your bloodstream more quickly than other energy sources, like protein or fat. Add sausage, meat, and cheese, and you get a calorie bomb with enough fat to help clog your arteries over time, and enough carbs to spike your blood sugar. That’s not an ideal combo for good health.

Best: Thin Crust Pizza With Veggies

A thinner crust has fewer calories and carbs.

A thinner crust has fewer calories and carbs. And if it’s whole wheat, it takes longer to digest, so your blood sugar is less likely to spike. Top it with vegetables and tomato sauce with no added sugar. To keep the fat down, take it easy on the cheese. If you decide to add meat, look for lean protein like skinless chicken or turkey.

Worst: Stuffed Shells

It's got three different kinds of fat-filled cheese, and giant shells of pasta for plenty of carbs.

It’s got three different kinds of fat-filled cheese, and giant shells of pasta for plenty of carbs. That’s not a great start. If you want to treat yourself, look for low-fat ricotta cheese for the main filling, and likewise for the mozzarella and parmesan. After that, it’s all about the portions. Drink plenty of water, and eat it with a generous serving of green salad so you don’t overdo it.

Best: Stuffed Peppers

You can scratch the same itch with far fewer carbs and calories and less fat.

Instead of stuffing carb-rich pasta shells with fat-loaded cheeses of different stripes, why not fill a delicious, low-carb, low-calorie bell pepper with whole-grain rice, tomatoes, and lean protein like ground turkey. That way, you can scratch the same itch with far fewer carbs and calories and less fat.

Worst: Spaghetti Carbonara

This recipe starts with a pile of carb-rich pasta.

This recipe starts with a pile of carb-rich pasta. Then, you add four egg yolks, a cup of cheese, olive oil, and, if that’s not enough calories and fat, half a pound of bacon. Some cooks even add a bit of cream for good measure! The result — no surprise — is delicious. It’s OK as a treat, but the best way to make a healthy version of this dish is to eat something else.

Best: Spaghetti Marinara

If you're craving pasta, this is a pretty healthy choice.

If you’re craving pasta, this is a pretty healthy choice. A touch of olive oil in that marinara sauce is OK because it helps your body absorb an important tomato nutrient (lycopene) that protects your cells. Just don’t overdo the fat, and watch the sugar content of your sauce, because those can pile on extra calories. Lean grilled chicken breast is a great way to add some protein if you want it.

Worst: Parmesan Risotto

The traditional way to make this Italian rice dish is with loads of oil, butter, and parmesan cheese.

The traditional way to make this Italian rice dish is with loads of oil, butter, and parmesan cheese. That adds up to lots of fat and calories even without the main ingredient. The rice itself not only has lots of carbs, it also has a high “glycemic index.” That means the energy enters your blood even more quickly than pasta.

Best: Minestrone

If your heart's set on having rice with your supper, why not add a bit of it to this healthy, versatile mixed vegetable and bean soup.

If your heart’s set on having rice with your supper, why not add a bit of it to this healthy, versatile mixed vegetable and bean soup. That way you can fill up on low-calorie, low-carb, low-fat broth and vegetables and still get some rice to satisfy your craving.

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