Italy has a deep-rooted food culture and healthy eating habits that we can learn from. With a focus on seasonal food and sit-down meals, Italians know how to simply enjoy their cuisine. Our society today tends to emphasize fad diets and what you “shouldn’t” eat, so it can actually be refreshing to think and eat like you’re in Italy for a change. Italians have a less complicated way of eating which has resulted in a life expectancy that is at least two years longer than the U.S. The obesity rate in Italy is 19.19%, which is far lower than America’s 36% obesity rate. When thinking about your health and wellness, it can be beneficial to follow Italy and their lessons in eating and living.
Eat Seasonally And Locally
The 2 main rules of Italian cuisine are to eat seasonally and locally. Seasonal ingredients are fresh and full of peak flavor. With each season, Italians eagerly await the new fruits and vegetables offered. Can you imagine being excited that broccoli is in season? Sometimes we take for granted having access to all imported foods despite the seasons. Try shopping at local farmer’s markets and using seasonal ingredients in your recipes to use and savor the most freshest and flavorful food.
Relax & Sit-Down
Italians consider meal times as a joyful and calm experience. This can be very different from today’s typical on-the-go eating. Eating in Italy is never done in your car, at your desk, while walking, or in front of a television. A meal is a time to chat with friends and family, or can be a time to feel calm and relaxed by yourself. Meals in Italy are never rushed or considered fast. If you typically have a meal during the day that is on-the-go, consider sitting down and actually enjoy the meal slowly. Make time in your day to have the satisfaction and calming effect of a nice, nourishing meal.
What do Italians love? Pasta, bread, and all the gluten. Unlike in America where we tend to villianize carbs, the average Italian daily diet is never “low-carb”. The difference is that in Italy, their pasta and bread is often made with better ingredients and from scratch. Their entree portions are also much smaller than the average American portion. A combination of less processed ingredients and smaller portions allows Italians to feel their best while continuing to eat pasta and bread. Eating like an Italian is more simple, healthy, and delicious!