There are lots of good choices at Olive Garden, whether you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or are just looking to follow a well-balanced diet to maintain your overall health. Here are six tips to help you make the best choice.
Q: What are good choices at Olive Garden for people with diabetes? -Anonymous Reader
A: There are lots of good choices at Olive Garden, whether you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or are just looking to follow a well-balanced diet to maintain your overall health. Follow these tips to make the best choices:
- Use HealthyDiningFinder.com as a resource to find dietitian-approved menu items at Olive Garden. Olive Garden’s Healthy Dining page lists lots of options, all of which meet strict criteria for calories, fat, and sodium.
- Choose whole grain pasta options when available to increase your fiber, vitamin, and mineral intake. Fiber helps increase satiety, helps regulate your digestive system, and may help to lower cholesterol levels.
- Choose dishes with plenty of vegetables. Again, fiber is a key benefit here. Vegetables also offer lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, with few calories or carbohydrates to go along with them. (The exception here is starchy vegetables, like potatoes and peas, which are higher in calories and starch—a type of carbohydrate.)
- Select meals that provide a source of lean protein, like beans, fish, chicken, or lean cuts of beef. These foods do not contain carbohydrates (with the exception of beans), so they have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels, though they do provide many other nutritional benefits and help to satisfy your appetite.
- Keep portion sizes in check. If you’re ordering a dinner-sized entrée, consider taking half of the plate home to enjoy for a later meal. Sticking to reasonable portions at meal times helps to keep blood sugars more stable and helps prevent overeating—which can lead to weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight, if that is your goal. For other ways to keep from eating too much when dining out, check out these tips.
- Finally, be careful of meal “extras,” like breadsticks, dessert, and drinks. These can quickly add calories and carbohydrates to your meal, meaning an increased chance of overindulging and dealing with high post-meal blood sugars. To enjoy your meal without going overboard, choose one of these meal accompaniments or share two with your dining partner.
Some of our favorite diet-friendly options at Olive Garden include:
- Pasta e Fagioli Soup (130 calories, 2.5 g fat, 17 g carbs)
- Lighter Italian Fare: Venetian Apricot Chicken (Lunch Portion) (290 calories, 4.5 g fat, 34 g carbs)
- Lighter Italian Fare: Herb-Grilled Salmon (Dinner Portion) (510 calories, 26 g fat, 5 g carbs)
- Lighter Italian Fare: Lasagna Primavera with Grilled Chicken (Dinner) (420 calories, 15 g fat, 36 g carbs)