Italy is home to some of the best cuisine in the world. The favorite dishes of many people originate from Italy, including pasta, pizza, risotto, lasagna, and gnocchi. These foods are delicious, but some may worry that they are too high in calories.

In truth, some dishes are a lot higher in calories than others. To answer this question fully, though, we will go through some of the most popular Italian dishes and explain their nutritional advantages and disadvantages.

Is Pizza High In Calories?

Yes, most varieties of pizza are high in calories. The reason for this is that they are topped with mozzarella cheese. Which, while healthy overall and full of protein, also contains loads of calories.

Most toppings add to the salt and calorie content, such as bacon and pepperoni. The number of calories will depend on the toppings and ingredients. For most toppings, a single slice of pizza will feature over 100 calories.

Aside from this, pizza is also quite high in sugar because the sauces, such as tomato or barbecue sauce, include high quantities of sugar. Consequently, pizza is not very healthy. One of the few health benefits is that they tend to be high in protein, particularly those with meat toppings.

However, there are ways of making pizza healthier and lowering the number of calories. This can mainly be done via the toppings.

You can select healthier toppings, such as spinach, peppers, and mushrooms. If you are trying to lessen the calorie content, you should avoid getting a stuffed crust pizza. Instead, you should get a thin crust. In fact, always opt for an authentic Italian pizza versus an American pizza.

There is a reason why pizza is one of the most popular takeout options across the world. This is because it tastes delicious. If you are looking for a low-calorie diet, it may be best to only have pizza once every now and then.

Is Lasagna High In Calories?

Lasagna is a well-liked Italian dish consisting of alternating layers of pasta sheets and minced beef in a tomato sauce. It is then topped with a cheesy sauce. If you have tried it, you will likely be aware that it is absolutely delectable.

Unfortunately, it is quite high in calories. This is for many of the same reasons as pizza. In fact, a serving of lasagna is likely to have in the range of 500 and 800 calories. Thankfully, you can also make low-calorie versions of lasagna.

Lasagna is not only high in calories but also fat and salt. This is a result of the inclusion of cheese. On the other hand, it is rich in protein. This is thanks to the inclusion of the meat, which is most commonly beef.

To make your lasagna healthier, use whole wheat lasagna sheets. Whole wheat pasta noodles are especially higher in fiber, as well as zinc and magnesium. Or better still, go for a vegetarian recipe for lasagna.

In addition, it is lower in calories. For the cheese, it will be hard to reduce the calorie content largely. However, you should use reduced-fat cheese whenever you can.

In terms of the filling, you can swap the beef mince for low-fat mince or turkey mince. These minces are considerably lower in calories. If you are willing to try a vegetarian alternative, you can use meat-free mince. You could also trade the mince for courgettes.

For the tomato sauce, you may be better off making a homemade version. Shop-bought lasagna sauces tend to have lots of unnecessary added sugar.

Is Risotto High In Calories?

Is Risotto High In Calories?

This creamy Italian meal is made of rice and broth. You can use a type of meat or fish broth. If you are a vegetarian, you can use vegetable broth. Even if you are using meat or fish, risotto typically contains vegetables, such as onion. It is also often flavored with parmesan cheese.

Risottos are not particularly high in calories, though they can be depending on what ingredients are used. If you use a lot of parmesan, butter, or wine, it can end up becoming quite rich in calories.

To prevent this from happening, minimize the use of these ingredients and instead focus on the vegetables, such as mushrooms or peas. The meat that you utilize will also impact the calorie count of risotto.

Ultimately, risotto is not very high in calories, particularly when compared to other traditional Italian dishes. On the other hand, you should watch what ingredients are included to prevent it from becoming an unhealthy dish. Fortunately, risotto is high in carbohydrates and protein.

It also has a decent amount of fiber.

Is Carbonara High In Calories?

Do you love creamy pasta? If so, you will find carbonara absolutely irresistible. The dish is made by adding pasta noodles to egg, pepper, and some form of pork, such as pancetta. It
is then topped with parmesan cheese.

Though this will sound very tasty, it is indeed high in calories. In truth, a serving of carbonara will contain approximately 600 calories. Most of these calories will come from pork, which contains loads of salt. This will also be heightened by the cheese.

To make the carbonara healthier, you can substitute the pork for vegetables, such as onions and mushrooms. If you want to have meat in your meal, you can still include it but lessen the portions and add more vegetables. Like the lasagna, you can also swap the regular pasta with whole wheat pasta noodles.

Is Gnocchi High In Calories?

These Italian dumplings are made from dough and then rolled into a distinctive shape. They are traditionally served as a starter or first course in a meal. They are small and tasty, but will not usually be part of the main course.

They are not especially loaded with calories, though they also do not contain many nutrients. It is high in carbohydrates, but nothing else. As a result, you may want to avoid them if you are pursuing a low-calorie diet.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative, feel free to try out cauliflower gnocchi. It has a reduced fat and salt content. In most cases, it is also gluten-free.

Is Tiramisu High In Calories?

Finally, this Italian dessert is made with layers of cake or ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese. Typically, it is flavored with coffee and cocoa.

As you may have guessed from this description, it is high in calories. It is also high in fat and sugar. Though it is delicious, you may want to stay away from tiramisu if you are on a diet.

Sadly, there is not much you can do to make this dish lower in calories, though there are recipes out there that have made it healthier.

Is Italian Food High In Calories? – The Verdict

As mouth-wateringly tasty as Italian food is, it is very high in calories and salt. This is likely because of the inclusion of rich flavors and ingredients, such as cheese. Cheese is found in a lot of different Italian dishes, adding to the fat, salt, and calorie content of a dish.

If you are concerned about the number of calories you are eating, there are a lot of different ways of making Italian dishes healthy. These include using whole wheat pasta noodles instead of the regular variety.

This article has not been created to put people off from consuming Italian food. Instead, it is merely used to educate people about the impact on your health. If you are a lover of Italian dishes, there is nothing wrong with eating this cuisine. However, you should eat it as part of a balanced diet.

Final Thoughts

Italian cuisine maybe some of the best in the world. The fact that it is high in calories is unfortunate. Ultimately, this should not detract from your enjoyment or passion for Italian food.

Rick Zullo

Former doctor, current science teacher, and life-long food lover, Rick's passion for Mediterranean cuisine was ignited while living as an expat in Rome, Italy. 


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