I was raised in an Italian family. I grew up eating homemade pasta, pizza and rich desserts. Upon entering the fitness world, I soon realized that some of the ingredients in Italian dishes -- like cheese and pasta -- are responsible for ricotta and muffin tops. So, I started avoiding those yummy Italian dishes. Arrivederci, lasagna and manicotti!
Skipping out on Italian meals did not make me a happy camper. I continued to drool over Giada De Laurentiis's Everyday Italian: my preferred food porn.
Fortunately, I've learned that leading a successful fitness life doesn't mean you have to exclude your favorite foods. But you need to learn how to be creative with them! After some fun and tasty experimentation, I've even been able to reincorporate some of my favorite childhood meals back into my diet.
Mini Italian Frittatas
This savory breakfast was inspired by Giada de Laurentiis. It is a quick and delicious start to the day!
- 1 cup egg beaters
- 1/2 cup roasted asparagus
- 1/2 cup chopped extra lean turkey bacon
- 1/2 Tbsp parsley
- In a sauce pan, saut? asparagus and turkey bacon.
- Stir together with egg beaters and parsley.
- Pour mixture into a mini muffin pan and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.
Mini Italian Frittatas PDF (64 KB)
Antipasto Salad And Stuffed Mushrooms
In Italian, antipasto literally means "before the meal." This recipe, served with a side of tasty stuffed mushrooms, is hearty enough to replace the meal!
- 2 artichoke hearts cut into quarters
- 1 cup arugula
- 2 mini bell peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup mini heirloom tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Kalamata Olives
- 3 oz grilled chicken
- 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1 low-fat mozzarella cheese stick cut into 1/4 inch slices
- Mix all the ingredients for the antipasto salad in a large bowl.
- 2 fbsp fat free plain yogurt
- 4 cremini mushrooms
- 2 slices Turkey bacon cut in half, lengthwise
- Italian seasoning and garlic salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Remove the stems from the Cremini mushrooms and fill each mushroom with approximately 1/2 tablespoon of yogurt.
- Wrap each mushroom with a half slice of turkey bacon and secure with a toothpick.
- Top each mushroom with a dash of Italian seasoning and garlic salt, bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Serve immediately with antipasto salad.
Serving Size (1 salad)
Serving Size (4 mushrooms)
Antipasto Salad And Stuffed Mushrooms PDF (88.6 KB)
Post-Workout Italian Iced Drink
Italians do not mess around when it comes to their coffee. It is a staple drink at almost every meal, and often serves as a meal. Try this iced coffee after your next workout, and you too will realize the power of the Italian side!
- 1 cup chocolate almond milk
- 1 tbsp instant coffee
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 1 cup ice
- Dollop of fat free whipped cream and cinnmon (for garnish)
- Blend all ingredients together and garnish whipped cream and cinnamon.
(without whipped cream)
Post-Workout Italian Iced Drink PDF (127 KB)
I am very excited to share this recipe because it is not only diet-friendly, but it tastes great! I worked very hard to find the perfect crust -- delizioso!
- 3/4 cup ground steel cut oats
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp sugar substitute
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup fat free Ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp low fat mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz. lean ground beef or turkey
- 1/4 cup arugula
- 2 slices Prosciutto
- 1/4 cup marinara sauce
Toppings (Can be modified to fit your dietary needs, but these are my favorite.)
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Bring 1 cup water to boil. Add the grounded steel cut oats and sugar substitute.
- Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the baking soda and egg white and flatten onto pre-sprayed pizza pan.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
- Brown the ground beef/turkey in a pan over medium-high heat and set aside.
- Mix the ricotta and marinara in a small bowl.
- Top pizza crust with sauce and ricotta mixture, ground meat, arugula, prosciutto, mozzarella and bell peppers.
- Return to oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Serving Size (1/2 pizza)
Pizza Rustica PDF (68.2 KB)
Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato
This recipe is amazing because it converts cottage cheese into a sinfully delightful Italian treat!
- 1 cup fat free cottage cheese
- 3 tbsp sugar free hazelnut syrup
- 1 tbsp sugar free chocolate pudding mix
- 1/2 cup chocolate almond milk
- Chopped chocolate covered almonds (for garnish)
- Blend ingredients together until smooth (at least 2-3 minutes)
- Pour into mini muffin pans.
- Freeze for one hour.
(without chocolate covered almonds)
Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato PDF (47.9 KB)