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Italian Food - Is It High or Low Calorie? You May Be Surprised - Read On

By:  Jimmy Woodall

It seems lately that among the health food circles Italian food has been given a bad reputation. With the advent of Atkins many former Italian food fans have steered clear of the food because of the pasta that is being used. However, the idea that pastas going to make you fat is pretty much unfounded. A diet of Italian food, especially from the Mediterranean areas is actually very healthy and will keep you looking and feeling great as long as you know which Italian foods to eat and how to prepare them.

A great example of the fact that Italian food will not make you fat is in Sophia Loren. She told the world in her book that she grew up on spaghetti and ate it daily. She says that it is not the pasta that makes you fat; it's what you put on top of it. People who gain weight eating Italian food typically do so not because of the pasta, but because of creamy sauces like Alfredo sauce and because they eat large portions. Italian food from the Mediterranean doesn't rely on the rich, thick sauces and uses olive oil instead of butter, making it very healthy.

It all starts with the ingredients you keep. For good, healthy food you want to make sure you stock the kitchen with quality pasta, olive oil, garlic, onions, lean meat, fish, and seafood. For seasoning you will want some herbs like basil, oregano, and parsley. You'll want to stay away from a lot of cheese and perhaps only get a little Parmesan cheese to top your favorite dishes. The creamy and cheesy dishes are the ones you're going to want to stay away from in order to keep a healthy diet.

There are many different light meals you can prepare with these simple ingredients. Here is one that will start you off, an Italian food classic, pasta with tomato sauce. You can use any type of pasta you want and you might want to try livening it up with variety. Italian food is not just spaghetti noodles. Boil the pasta in water with salt. Make sure not to overcook the pasta. You want it to be firm, yet tender. The most common mistake made in making Italian food is making mushy pasta. For the sauce simply chop up some garlic, an onion, and some tomatoes. Take a tablespoon of your quality olive oil and saute both the garlic and onions until they are soft. Once that is done add the tomatoes and cook until all the ingredients are blended together well. To top it off add your favorite herbs such as parsley, oregano, or basil. Try different combinations of herbs, there is no definitive herbs for Italian food so experiment and give your sauce your own signature flavor.

You can serve this sauce, put it over your hot pasta and if you want put a little sprinkle of Parmesan on it that is ok too. This is a very simple dish that will stand on its own and you will not need to eat bread or anything else with it. This is a great example of how healthy should be, light and fresh.

You can feel free to try different variations on this recipe. Italian food is full of a variety of pastas and recipes that can keep you satisfied and healthy as long as you stay away from the heavy sauces and creams.