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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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When in Rome...

Do as the Romans do, and eat your veggies! Buona sera from Rome (it's nearly dinner time here). Today involved lots more walking, sightseeing, picture taking, and of course, eating! I just had to share this photo of my lunch plate, which contained sauteed rosemary potatoes, grilled eggplant, mushrooms, sweet Bell peppers (all cooked in olive oil), and steamed cauliflower. Everything on this plate was amazingly flavorful, and the amount was to order - I was able to select the size of my plate as well as exactly how much of each item I wanted. I loved it! The only place I have this option at home is at the deli counter of my market (not at cafes or restaurants), and even there, I don't have half as many choices! And boy, was it difficult to decide! This particular cafe offered at least 8 other vegetable selections I passed up (spinach, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, carrots, onions...and no, it was not a vegetarian restaurant) as well as fresh fruit. And like every cafe here, the desserts were very small. I didn't have dessert today, but since I arrived, I haven't seen one larger than 4-6 ounces (for tiramisu), or a tart larger than the size of a mini fruit cup. Cake portions are also about 4 X 4 inches and less than a few inches tall (I'd say roughly a fifth or sixth of a Cheesecake Factory slice).

Do you remember that "where's the beef?" Wendy's commercial from way back when? Well, my take away message from today is, "where's the veggies?" when thinking about menus back home. Last night, we went to a traditional trattoria our concierge recommended. It was casual and filled with locals, but it was nothing like the Italian trattorias I've been to in the States. I finally had my carciofi alla romana (it was delicious but a bit heavy on the olive oil for my taste), along with a broth-based vegetable soup, a tomato/eggplant/basil salad, and arugula/ pear/walnut salad (all of which were fantastic!). Once again, no, it wasn't a vegetarian restaurant, and I passed on many other veggie selections. Ahhhh, I'm really going to miss Rome! Ok, off to get ready for our last Italian meal. Tomorrow, Athens!

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Sass
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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