There are many reasons why the Italians stay so healthy. There isn’t a culture of abstaining from various foods here, but still most of them remain fit and also happy. There’s the famous Mediterranean diet full of the goodness of olive oil and fresh local produce, and also the fact that mealtimes in Italy are more like events where the focus is on savoring food as well as enjoying the company of family and friends. So it can be said that the secret to the Italians’ health and wellbeing is their wholesome approach towards food and the healthy food choices they make quite naturally on a day-to-day basis. The good news is that you can do it too. Here are some food and fitness tips that will help you do as the Italians do, and make your stay in Italy a healthy one.Slow it down
Quite a useful tip that passes many people by. Italians eat slowly, paying attention to when their bodies signal them to stop. If you stop eating as soon as you feel full, you are likely to not gain extra weight.
Large breakfasts are not the norm in Italy. A pastry and a cappuccino make a quick morning meal and this is quite a beloved tradition in the country. Avoid custard filled pastries, and opt for jam fillings or biscotti instead.
Traditional Italian lunches and dinners have five courses. But you don’t have to eat every course. You can choose your foods and therefore control the amount of calories you consume. Follow the Italian philosophy that it is quality that matters, not quantity.
If you’re living in Italy, you can’t possibly not eat pasta! A neat little health tip is to reserve your pasta consumption for lunchtime. This enables your body to burn off the carbohydrates during the rest of the day. Dinner can be a lighter meal either with some meat or vegetables. Also try eating whole-wheat pasta instead of the traditional white pasta. This fills you up faster and is more nutritious.
Choose your sauces
Sauces are a part of most Italian dishes. One way to ensure you are getting enough vegetables in your diet is to choose dishes that come with red sauces and vegetables. Even if your dish of choice is pizza, ask for more vegetables as part of the topping.
One of the main factors that contribute to the good health of Italians is that their meals are simple. Processed foods are a rarity in most households. This translates into tastier and healthier meals, many of which are made with ingredients freshly picked from home gardens.
Trim those desserts
Skip the rich cakes and pastries and opt for a gelato instead. The Italian version of ice cream is actually healthier than ice cream due to the lower fat and sugar content. Gelato makers also use real fruit and nuts instead of syrups.
If you enjoy a cup of coffee after your meals, do as the Italians do – skip the sugar and add less milk.
Watch the wine
Italian wine is world-renowned and is served generously wherever you go. Sipping a glass of wine along with you meal is perfectly fine, but if you’re watching your weight, avoid indulging too much as it will increase your calorie intake.
The Italian food culture teaches us that food is meant to be enjoyed. This means not depriving yourself. Indulging in a hearty meal over the weekend, even if it is a whole pizza, is a great idea if you’re making healthy food choices and exercising during the rest of the week.
Find a park
This will be easy since all big cities in Italy have parks. They are great places for running, jogging or just enjoying a walk in the fresh air.
A cherished Italian tradition, passeggiata (or the evening stroll) is a regular practice that takes place across the country usually between 5 to 8pm. It marks the end of the workday and allows people to socialize before dinnertime. Abiding by this charming tradition is an enjoyable way to get some physical activity into your daily routine and also catch up with friends and acquaintances at the same time.