Pasta is one of those foods that seems to constantly move back and forth between the list of “approved” foods and the list of “disapproved” foods. For a period of time, you probably heard that pasta and carbs were good for you and that you should enjoy them as much as possible. A short time later, you probably heard the opposite — pasta should never be a part of a healthy diet. Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy weight, we are sure that you want to know why the Italians seem to eat pasta all the time and never get fat. At Asiago’s in Boise, we absolutely love pasta, especially homemade pasta, which is why we will show you some of the best ways to enjoy pasta and stay slim like the Italians do.

Portion Size

One of the reasons that Italians don’t seem to get fat is that they tend to adhere to proper portion sizes for their meals. In America, unfortunately, portion sizes are frequently disregarded as food is piled onto plates, which can amount to three to four servings in one meal. You have no control over your portion sizes even when you eat out. Ask your server if it’s possible to serve you half of the meal and box the other half immediately. If this is not something they can accommodate, then be sure to split your meal in half and eat only one half at the restaurant, and save the other half for lunch the next day!

Food Pairings

Italians typically use a lot of fresh, natural foods, and very few processed foods. For example, their diets are typically high in fruit, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil consumption. They do use salt, but herbs, garlic, and black pepper are more common. Additionally, red meat, eggs, and full-fat dairy products are consumed much less often and in smaller amounts.

While Italians do eat a lot of pasta, they are not usually eating much of the heavier pastas such as gnocchi and tortellini. In fact, they tend to eat lighter pasta dishes that are topped with healthy additions such as tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and onions. Each of these items is helpful in maintaining a healthy weight.

Physical Activity

Italians walk far more on a daily basis than most people in America. While you may not live in an area that is conducive to walking everywhere you need to go, especially with wintry weather, you can make accommodations to get the physical activity you need. For example, don’t try to snag the parking spot closest to the door. Park farther away and give yourself the opportunity to walk a little bit more. When you have the option, choose the stairs over the elevator. Depending on the job you have, try to make time to stand at work rather than sit all day.

Fellowship 

One other key factor as to why Italians don’t get fat is the way in which meals are consumed — with good company. Whether meals are at home with family, or at larger gatherings with friends, they are typically enjoyed with an endless amount of laughter and conversation. Eating healthier meals this way, rather than in front of the television, means that their brains have time to register that they are full, which prevents them from overeating.

One habit that many Americans seem to have is that of eating while watching TV. The problem that occurs when you do this is that your brain isn’t fully in touch with the messages that your stomach is sending. The message that you are full will eventually get to your brain, but probably not before you have eaten more than you should have. Additionally, if you are watching a tense movie, you will start to eat much more quickly in response to the action.

Make a healthy change in your life by turning off the TV and sitting at the dinner table with your friends or family. If you live by yourself, then read a book instead. Your mind will not be as disconnected as it is when you watch TV and you will find that you notice feelings of fullness sooner rather than later. If you are looking for a great Italian restaurant that fosters healthy eating and lingering over a great meal with your friends, then be sure to visit Asiago’s in Boise today. At Asiago’s, we love making fresh, homemade pasta daily, and we hope you’ll visit our Italian restaurant to enjoy it for yourself!