Italians are famous for their rich history, but also for their relaxed lifestyle and incredibly tasty food. They're the ones who came up with the delicious pizza and with multiple varieties of pasta, amongst many other delicacies.

So how come they manage to stay fit and healthy if their most famous dishes are anything but very healthy? It seems that Italians, like other inhabitants of Mediterranean countries, have found numerous ways to protect themselves from the negative consequences of a fat and calorie-laden diet.

Italian Diet: High Calorie Food in Small Portions

One of the most important secrets of an Italian Mediterranean diet is the size of the portions. If Americans and numerous other people around the world are used to splurge on heavy amounts of food, Italians eat well, but go for small portions. In other words, the moment they feel full, they stop eating.

Caprese Salad

Italian Mediterranean Diet: Many Fruits and Veggies

If you thought that Italians live only with pizza and pasta, you were totally wrong! A typical Italian diet includes plenty of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables. Did you know, for instance, that Italians appease their sweet tooth by snacking on fruits rather than on cakes?

As a matter of fact, the Italian Mediterranean diet consists of plenty of healthy foods: fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive oil, lean meat (fish, poultry), grains and wine (moderate amounts).

Italian Diet to Lose Weight? Not So Much!

You may shed pounds with a typical Italian diet, but that's definitely not what Italians are going for! When adjusting your principles to match the Italian lifestyle, you will definitely see an improvement when it comes to your figure, but don't make weight loss your goal - Italians are all for a happy, relaxed living, not for one filled with frustration and depression caused by dieting.

Italian Diet Meal Plan

If you want to follow an Italian Mediterranean diet, here are the basic principles. Start your day with a light, but tasty breakfast made of a cup of milk coffee, a bowl of cereals or a brioche.

Serve two courses for lunch and take your time! Eating is an experience to enjoy - and by eating slowly, you also allow your brain to signal when you're full. Go for an antipasto, followed by a dish consisting of lean meat, a small portion of pasta or grilled veggies.

Remember to dine at a reasonable hour to allow plenty of time for digestion. You may feast on pasta with vegetable sauce and/or meat or fish, plus fruits for dessert. And don't forget to go for long walks between meals!

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