Nothing beats the thrilling excitement of entering an Italian restaurant and feeling that stunning smell hit your nostrils, making your stomach dance from the thought of consuming all those finger-licking carby goods served there.
I bet you agree with us. You cannot not get addicted to it.
However, if your health plan restricts your carb intake, you are going to think twice about what you are going to order or prepare. There is a huge difference from one cheat meal to another. A lesser evil.
Although, regardless of which dietitian you consult, he will allow the occasional cheating, which should bring you the feel rewarding about what you have achieved and prepare you for when you are off the diet.
“If you want pizza, go with pizza if you’re feeling like pasta go for pasta. At the end of the day it’s more about the portions,” accredited practicing dietitian Joel Feren told mybody+soul.
But really, surely there’s some nutritional difference?
“I’d say they’re even. It’s about 700 kilojoules per slice of pizza on average and a typical serving of spaghetti bolognaise at a restaurant is about 2800kJ. So if you have four slices of pizza it’s about the same as a serving of spaghetti bolognaise,” he says.
At the end of the day the best option for you is the one you’ll eat less of. If you find pasta fills you up more quickly opt for that, if you can’t get past your third slice of pizza that might be a better option.
“With pizza opting for a thin crust is ideal with loads and loads of veggies. Also go for a lean protein on top like smoked salmon, chicken breast or leg ham,” explains Feren.
Fatty meats like pepperoni and shredded ham are toppings to be culled where possible.
“Team your pizza with a side of veggies or salad – or even share it with a friend.”
The main problem with pasta is portion sizes, explains Joel. “The first thing I would do is opt for an entrée size. I would also go for plain pasta like spaghetti or fettucine rather than filled pastas like tortellini or ravioli.”
Again, Feren is always one for getting those veggies in, so any pasta with vegetables to bulk it out will be a better choice.
“Opting for a tomato based source is much better than some of the more creamy ones.”
Feren is a big believer in the non-diet approach, so as long as you’re keeping up a balanced diet, a Friday night Italian is something to be savoured, not feared.
And if you’re game, try making it at home.
“You can make pizza on a wholegrain wrap and load it up with vegies and smoked salmon for extra omega 3’s. You can dictate how much cheese you add but if you go to a restaurant it’s at the behest of the chef making it for you.”
The final verdict? Go for it, you need to have fun with your diet and that includes a pizza and wine every now and again.