Snacks of Italy - How Italians Keep Fit and Enjoy Food

Favorite snacks of Italy: Italians are slim and enjoy food, what is their snacking secret?

An italian cafe.

An italian cafe. Photo © 2007 Jenny Rollo.

If you travel to Italy, after a few days you might start to notice that the population is considerably slimmer than in the States. Considering that our diet is based on carbohydrates, you’ll probably wonder what is the Italian secret to an enjoyable, effective diet.

Italians are very fond of food, we speak about food while we eat, we love to discuss restaurants and recipes. Food is a national obsession and only the best seasonal, fresh food will do for the family table. This habit automatically cuts out all the junk food to the benefit of our health and body lines.

Add to this the fact that or fridges are half the size of American ones. The reason of that probably has to be traced to the fact that our houses are definitely smaller than the American counterpart and we do not store much food anyway because we emphasize fresh aliments in our diet.

Sitting at the table is an important moment for the family and casual meals are strongly discouraged by any well meaning Italian "mamma": this further restricts the occasions for mindless eating and excessive calories consumption.

Sauces and fat based seasonings are used rather sparingly. The most widely used fat is olive oil, now recognized one of the healthiest cooking fats. All these eating habits leave little space to the casual snacks, but who could live without a little indulgence?

Italian ice-cream in a shop of Rome, Italy.

Italian ice-cream in a shop of Rome, Italy. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Indulgence is provided by an endless number of shops selling pizza and ice cream.

It is customary to take a break during the day and walk to the shop to get one of the fabulous homemade ice creams or a square of pizza.

Walking to the shop actually helps to burn some calories and the fact that you don’t have the snack at hand prevents overeating.

Finally let’s consider for example the pizza: it will be a rather small square of “pizza al taglio” sensibly seasoned with a little veggies or cheese, enough to keep you happy and your appetite alive for next meal.

What to say about ice creams? Italian ice-cream is famous worldwide, it is a pleasure to savor it while strolling (more calories burning) with a friend but the size must be sensible to allow the chatting and the walking.

After a vacation in Italy, if you follow a Mediterranean way of eating, you might find out to your surprise that after enjoying wonderful, healthy food you have lost some weight too!

Copyright © 2007 Elda Rita Tessadori