The Italian Diet: Disproving Stereotypes

Hello to Ryan’s lovely followers!

Some of you may know me from my blog CiaraSwalsh where I talk about fashion, travel and my life in general. I’ve been living in Italy for the past five months and I’ve learnt a lot about their diet and typical food habits so I’m here to share these with you all. 🙂

Let’s start with stereotypes. What do Italians eat? I bet the first meals to come to mind are pizza and I right? Well that’s not all they eat. Italians have a well rounded balanced diet, otherwise known as the Mediterranean Diet.  It’s one of the healthiest diets known.

When I first got to Italy, I was a little shocked to see that they only ate three times a day:

  1. They begin the day with a miniscule breakfast which consists of an espresso and a croissant.
  2. Lunch is normally at 1pm and isn’t usually eaten with the family as work or college may interfere.
  3. Next is dinner at 8pm. Italians are extremely family orientated so dinner must be with the family. They will wait for every family member to be home for dinner before they eat. In most cases this isn’t how things are in Ireland…do the words “your dinner’s in the oven!” ring a bell?

The phrase “Buon appetito” is used before every meal which translates to “enjoy your meal.” Dinner would consist of a very small portion of pasta, gnocchi, risotto, brodo, etc followed mainly by meat and vegetables for example zucchini and steak, chicken etc.

Sunday lunch is an important occasion in the Italian household. In general it consists of antipasti (the appetisers) for example prosciutto (ham), formaggio (cheese) salame (salami), then i primi (which is the first main part of the course) consisting of carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, risotto, gnocchi) and either some salad or a small piece of meat (known as i secondi- the seconds). They don’t use any sauces like we do in Ireland; they rely heavily on extra virgin olive oil.

You may have noticed me mention specific times as to when Italians dine. Well if you go to Italy on a holiday and you decide to sightsee for a while, next thing you check your watch and it’s 2:30/3pm and you decide to go grab some food; you’ll find you won’t be allowed into the restaurants because they will all be closed (bad touristic restaurants are an exception). This is because Italians eat their lunch at 1pm and at max 2pm. They won’t cater for your hunger needs, you’ll have to cater for their culture norms!

Each region of Italy is completely different from one another. With this, each region has their unique speciality, for example, Rome’s special dish is the famous Carbonara or Amatriciana; Bologna’s typical dish is Tagliatelle al Ragù (also known as Spaghetti Bolognese, but in reality it shouldn’t be with spaghetti). In the north of Italy Risotto is eaten frequently and in the south a tonne of fish is consumed. Italy is huge and Italy is diverse and that is why I love it so much.

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One more thing unique to Italy is the quality of food they use for their dishes. Italians buy the freshest ingredients for their meals; they avoid all the processed foods as much as possible. For example: mozzarella must not be refrigerated; it should be bought and eaten in the same day…once you put it in the fridge it’s ruined.

That’s basically the Italian diet wrapped up in one post if you have any questions feel free to ask me I’ll leave you my links to my social media below.

Enjoy the rest of your day lovelies!


Ciara x

You can visit Ciara via her blog, Facebook  page, or Instagram page. I hope you enjoyed this very informative article today, I know I did! 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Italian Diet: Disproving Stereotypes

Add yours

  1. I started to have salty or bigger breakfast in Ireland..but haven’t had a cornetto(croissant) in Italy(I don’t like them)! Totally agree with this post but unfortunately I can say many families are starting to buy processed food and we are facing obesity problems with the younger generations! And its true..we don’t eat pasta every moment! (Loved the pic of tortelli..really miss my part of Tuscany they are filled with spinach and ricotta)

  2. When I once asked an Italian family I was living with if they wanted me to cook them an American bacon-and-eggs breakfast they practically laughed me out of the room! You’re right on with this post. Cool stuff.

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