The Italian Diet

At some point every night after work you will find me on the little loveseat in the kitchen, all scrunched up watching some random TV show or doing some type of work on Mela Mia (my Mac laptop!). One day as I was in this position I noticed that all of my mom’s old cookbooks were neatly lined up on the shelves next to the TV. Know how something blends in until you remember it is there? That’s what the cookbooks were doing. Among them I found an article from Italy’s version of Self magazine, but it was dated 1999! I was really excited to see what diet it prescribed to the Italiane 10 years ago… Here is a loose translation into English.

Breakfast: coffee (or espresso rather) with a splash of milk and 2 digestivi (little digestive cookies)


Lunch: a small piece of roast, 1/2 hectogram prosciutto or chicken (no skin), salad with tomato & cucumber dressed with lemon juice; a glass of fruit juice
Dinner: vegetable soup plain, a well cooked piece of steak, 100 g corn + peas, cauliflower, grilled tomatoes, and a lot of salad dressed only with lemon juice


Lunch: a sandwich made with 2 pieces of multigrain bread with lettuce, lowfat cheese, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber. An apple
Dinner: fish cooked with lemon, tomato salad, french fries, green beans, broccoli, a tiny piece of tart


Lunch: a big piece of multigrain bread, a lot of beans, grilled tomatoes, salad with lettuce and cucumbers. a pear
Dinner: a piece of melon, a serving of lean beef (agnello o maiale), brussel sprouts, green beans, peas or corn, a small gelato


Lunch: a lean beef burger, small portion of emmenthal cheese, a light yogurt, salad with watercress, lettuce, cucumber, carrot and tomato dressed with lemon juice. An orange
Dinner: grilled chicken thigh, 100 g of either peas or corn, salad with tomatoes, onion, cucumber and dressed with garlic and lemon juice. a banana


Lunch: a big piece of melon, salad, 150 g of tuna, a small bunch of grapes
Dinner: braciola di maiale alla griglia (200 g), 150 g of tomato sauce, green beans, broccoli, grilled tomato. pear


Lunch: 1 fetta di pane biscottato, vegetable soup, 50 g of ricotta
Dinner: a grilled chicken breast, a huge salad, due panini al latte


Lunch: a small bunch of grapes, 150 g roast, 150 g roasted potato, green beans, cauliflower, carrots. a cooked apple
Dinner: 100 g of lean prosciutto with a big salad. A pear.

Interesting right? Lots of lean protein, vegetables and fruit, and a decent variety too. It is pretty far from the way I eat though. In comparison…. here’s a look at my food of today:

hot tea. whole wheat english muffin with natural peanut butter & 1/2 banana

1.5 adult carrots with 2 tbs hummus

bowl of Whole Foods hot bar lentil soup + multigrain roll

Luna bar

2 oz grilled sea bass, 1/2 grilled baby eggplant, 2 cups salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (romaine, radicchio, endive, spinach, tomato)

What do you think about this Italian magazine diet from 1999??? How similar or different is this from your own daily diet?


8 responses to “The Italian Diet

  1. Very interesting indeed! And tasty. My diet is more along the sandwich line (I’m too lazy to cook regularly, sighs) and lots of fruit. And a much bigger breakfast.

  2. I always think it’s so interesting to A. read about ‘diets’ from years past and B. read about ‘diets’ from a different country so this is like a double whammy!

  3. Very interesting, I don’t think it’d be enough food for me…I like a hearty breakfast!

  4. This is so cool! I wish I had bought some Italian magazines when I was in Italy. I didn’t even think of it though.

    I don’t like the small breakfast, but I love the fact that they say have a huge salad at dinner.

  5. Yum this sounds like a good diet to me! Minus the mini-breakfast of course, thats my fav meal of the day!!

  6. Emily (Healthy Fit Mama)

    I definitely need a much bigger breakfast. I love breakfast food!

  7. wow thats so cool, thanks for posting the old school diet! I definitely need a bigger breakfast!

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