Healthy Eating, Italian Style


I’ve just returned from a short vacation in Italy, a country where I’ve had the pleasure of traveling many times before. I suppose like any foodie who gets to travel in a country renowned for its culinary tradition, the thing that always stands out most for me is the food.  While it is undoubtedly tasty, what really impresses me is just how easy it is to eat healthy in Italy.

In my mind, there are four key reasons why:

  • The food is fresh — freshly picked from fields or butchered, freshly made, not out of a box.  Which makes eating healthy taste so much better.
  • Meals are relatively simple.  Probably the most commonly-used ingredients are olive oil, salt and pepper, which only enhance the great flavor of the actual food.
  • Portions are reasonable.  Not too big, not too small.  Just enough to satisfy.
  • The focus is on enjoyment — how food looks, how it tastes and how we feel as and after we eat it.

To top it off, gluten-free choices abound in Italy.  Seems so many Italians are gluten-sensitive, the government even subsidizes the purchase of gluten-free foods in pharmacies!  As I and my daughter are gluten-sensitive, finding that many restaurants offer gluten-free options was wonderful, to say the least.

Here are just a few pictures of our most recent Italian food journey.  The first set were taken at a typical market where many Italians still shop for much of their food.

A typical Italian market

Dried tomatoes and mushrooms at the market

More goodies

These guinea hens are delicious.  Called faraona in Italy

Can’t forget a picture of all the wonderful cheeses!

These pictures are of some of the great meals we enjoyed.

Gluten-free spaghetti vongele (spaghetti with clams) in Positano

Margarita pizza with arugula — gluten-free, of course 🙂

Grilled calamari in Sorrento

And of course, the wine!

The ever-enjoyable gelato

Finally,  a picture of daughter Lesley who we went over to see

9 responses to “Healthy Eating, Italian Style”

  1. Angie says:

    Absolutely beautiful photos, Marsha!

    I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting Italy once, but I can’t wait to go back.

    Love your commentary on Italian food- I think we Americans could learn from some of their food philosophies.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Marsha, thank you so much for sharing your stunning photos! How amazing that you get to go to Italy often.

    When we were immigrating to the US, we went through the old school route and stayed in Italy for many months. We couldn’t get over the markets with their fresh foods. Coming from Communist Russia, you can imagine why we were so flabbergasted. 🙂

    We loved Italy and hopefully I’ll get to visit the beautiful country again soon.

  3. Ah….reading about your trip brought back fond memories of our honeymoon there in 1998. I’m glad you had such a good time and were able to enjoy such wonderful, real food!

  4. Carla/MizFit says:

    Love this (and I’m not even a foodie ;))
    Beautiful photos. Wise words. And I’m honored you’d share the pic of Lesley with us as well.
    So glad you had a great trip.

  5. debra47 says:

    Impressed that you’ve just returned from your vacation to Italy and already have the photos posted with article! Enjoyed seeing the photos of you and husband and you with your daughter! I’m sure she was glad that you were able to come over while she’s living there.

  6. Marsha, I am so jealous! I LOVE Italy – I studied abroad there when I was in college, and when my parents came to visit we went to Positano as well. It’s so amazing there! Glad you had fun!
    .-= Nutritioulicious’s last blog post..nutritioulicious™ Live on WBAL Baltimore This Sunday =-.

  7. Michelle Cantrell says:

    Oh my gosh! It all looks and sounds so amazing! I have to get over there one of these days!

    I felt the same way in Paris by the way. I love being in a culture where the have such a love affair for real, whole foods, and don’t have to eat in excess, looking for something they’ll never get in over-processed crap that we eat here.

  8. Chef Lisa says:

    Marsha, I would be happy to chaperone such a trip! 🙂 Your pictures are gorgeous. I’m so jealous of year-round fresh air markets.

  9. Marsha says:

    Sounds like we’re all in agreement about Italy and its food! Makes me think we should put together another cooking/eating tour — we used to do them — called the A Food Lovers’ Adventure in Mindful Eating. The highlight was that we’d go to chefs’ homes and learn to cook their specialties in their personal kitchens. The food was fabulous….

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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