Nutritional Information for Olive Garden
Olive Garden restaurants are famous for serving top-notch Italian food at reasonable rates. The Italian motif of the restaurants adds to the ambience, and in general, a visit to a local Olive Garden restaurant is a diner’s delight. Here are tips on making healthy menu selections.
Olive Garden’s nutrition information lists items called “Garden Fare” and includes a nutritional analysis. These are entrees and other dishes custom-tailored to diners specialized needs.
Low Fat Items
The best nutritional pick for a healthy low calorie meal is a bowl of minestrone soup and a garden fresh salad without the signature Olive Garden dressing (one serving is 26 grams of fat) or croutons. Order the meal with a side of an Olive Garden low fat dressing, and skip the breadsticks. At a skinny 100 calorie per bowl, indulge in a second bowl of minestrone soup if you are still hungry.
There are seven entrees under 30 grams of net carbohydrates according to the menu. The winner for the best healthy meal in this category is the herb grilled salmon with a low net carbohydrate count of 5 grams but a high healthy dose of valuable omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Best Gluten Free Choices
According to Olive Garden, items listed as gluten-free are “prepared in accordance with American Dietetic Association guidelines.” There are eight selections with the healthiest choice being the children’s grilled chicken at 230 calories and 6 grams of fat.
Low Fat Children’s Options
There are only three entrees from which to choose on the children’s menu, which range from 3 to 8 grams of fat. Although on the surface the children’s spaghetti sauce might seem the healthiest choice based on the nutrition information, the children’s grilled chicken is a better choice. The high protein in the chicken and fiber in the broccoli work in synergy to offset the carbohydrate glycemic load of the pasta. Blood sugar levels stay level and the kids do not experience an insulin spike.
Olive Garden Menu - No Sugar Added
This section of the menu is disappointing because any dessert loaded with 800 calories and 51 fat grams should not be listed as a healthy alternative. The restaurant nutrition guide bills this bloated dessert – Torta di Chocolate – as no sugar added. Skip it and opt for the Olive Garden sundae for just 180 calories and 9 grams of fat. Split it with a dining companion to reduce calories and fat content even more.
There are many healthy and delicious options listed in the Olive Garden nutrition information guide. Look for the olive branch as a general guide to low fat entrees but take responsibility for choices and consider all the information before making a decision. The garden fresh salad without the signature Olive Garden dressing is a good nutritional choice and so are the tasty soups like minestrone, pasta e fagioli, and chicken and gnocchi.