How a Nutritionist Eats at… Pepolino

About the author: Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, is the owner of Real Nutrition NYC, which is based in Chelsea. She lives in Tribeca, however, and now has an outpost at Real Pilates. Her next event there is on Nov. 10: “We’ll talk about navigating Thanksgiving healthfully—and providing healthy recipes, food, and drinks.”

The other night, I grabbed a bite with friends at Pepolino, one of my favorite neighborhood Italian restaurants. But how do you eat Italian without putting on pounds? Here’s a snapshot from a dietitian’s dinner—deprivation not included.

1. I resisted the bread basket. One piece of bread dipped in olive oil can easily run you 200 calories before your appetizer even appears.
2. Ideally, you want to limit yourself to two alcoholic drinks, and stick with wine or liquor without juice or soda mixers (club soda is fine). I had a glass of Pinot Noir.
3. One nice thing about Italian restaurants is that there’s always at least one salad on the menu, and usually a soup. (Salads and soups fill you up on the least amount of calories.) I ordered a panzanella salad light on the dressing, and I ate around the bread chunks. The portion was huge so I left a third uneaten.
4. As an entrée, order a second appetizer, a half-portion of pasta, or a lean protein. I had the inzimino di calamari, a calamari stew with swiss chard, red wine, tomato, and toasted garlic bread. I didn’t eat the bread but I didn’t miss it, as the dish is delicious and filling without it. Note: The calamari wasn’t fried, and the chard, tomatoes, and red wine each add antioxidants to the dish.
5. Now I’m all for desserts (well, a bite or two), but if you’re going for it, I recommend the ricotta cheesecake. It’s rich but light at the same time, and remember to stop after three bites (not huge spoonfuls!). Those first three bites taste the best; the rest is all habit.


1 Comment

  1. Thanks for your tips. You have will power and exercise a lot of restraint…which is very impressive! I am able to resist the bread but I don’t think I could resist a delicious ricotta cheesecake. At least most humans would find it hard to stop after taking only 3 bites…