Healtful Eating at Olive Garden?

Tour of Italy

1450 calories – 74 fat g – 33 sat. fat g – 3830 sodium mg

Healthful eating at Olive Garden. Really? Is that possible? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but you can do a lot better than Fettuccine Alfredo or Five Cheese Ziti al Forno. Can we all say heart attacks on a plate?

I’ll be eating at Olive Garden on Wednesday evening. Herman and I are taking my sister and her husband to dinner. Herman (the same Herman with the ever helpful suggestions about my food choices) saw Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Bowl commercial on television – all you can eat pasta for $8.95. You have forty-two heart stopping combinations from which to choose. Yum! He immediately decided we’re going to Olive Garden.

Almost every entrée on the menu at an Italian restaurant includes pasta, and it isn’t only the high carb pastas that throw up roadblocks. What about those high fat/high calorie and sometimes high cholesterol sauces? Yeah, what about those? But here’s a tip. Kristie Leong M. D. suggests substituting steamed vegetables for the pasta in your entrée. Olive Garden allows this for most of their entrées.

Olive Garden says one serving of their Garden-Fresh Salad is 350 calories with dressing and 120 without dressing. Even though Olive Garden brings it to the table already dressed, Dr. Leong says you can order the dressing on the side.

Venetian Apricot Chicken

380 calories – 4 fat g – 1.5 sat fat g – 1420 sodium mg

If you’re willing to go for the carbs, the Linguine alla Marinara at 430 calories could be a realistic choice, but after checking out all my options, I’ve decided to go with The Venetian Apricot Chicken. Olive Garden says, “it boasts grilled chicken breasts in an apricot citrus sauce, served with broccoli, asparagus and diced tomatoes,”… and it weighs in at a mere 380 calories. Forget about the sodium. These restaurants are a horror story when it comes to salt, but I think it’s a pretty good option. If I decide to have salad, I can always eat only one chicken breast, and that would actually put the saturated fats under one gram and reduce the sodium substantially. Not perfect but not bad.

Olive Garden Nutrition Facts and Calorie Information


2 thoughts on “Healtful Eating at Olive Garden?

  1. We need to get your thinking in the right direction…..you don’t have to cook on Wed. night. Nothing else matters. Your sister loves all you can eats, you get something on the lite side and drink plenty of water….and remember it could be worse….you could be cooking at your house. Have a good time.

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