Eating healthy at an Italian Restaurant

We went with my family to Lamberti’s, a local Italian restaurant, this weekend. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am currently in a biggest loser competition at work and am trying to lose weight / make healthier decisions while I’m out.  I would love it if every restaurant offered nutrition information however it seems only big chain restaurants actually offer that information.

I did however do a little research about Italian restaurants and healthier choices prior to going to dinner.  Here are some of the items to avoid along with some items to look for if you are looking to make healthier decisions.

Avoid Any Meal with the following:
Alfredo (as in fettucine)

Anything Stuffed with Cheese (bummer for me since i love cheese)

Healthier Selections:
Marinara Sauce
Neopolitan Sauce
Minestrone Soup
Marinated Vegetable Antipasto
Piccata (lemon-based sauce for either chicken or veal dishes)
Plain Pasta
White Wine Sauces

img_7420I decided to go with the Cappellini Primavera which had the following description:
Seasonal vegetables and tomatoes sauteed in olive oil and light garlic marinara

I’ve been counting calories for a few weeks now and have become much more aware of serving sizes.  When I got my dinner delivered I was somewhat disturbed by the massive amount of cappellini they gave me.  Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious and I enjoyed eating dinner however what disturbed me was that I used to eat almost the entire meal and now I realize how many serving sizes I used to eat.

After eating approx 1 serving which is a little over 1 cup of cooked pasta (8oz), I had the rest put in a to go box.  When I got home I decided to weigh the remaining amount on my food scale. As you can see my leftovers weighed in at 1lb 10 oz which is a little over 3 servings of food.  I am basing the serving size on the cappellini (1 serving = 1 Cup or 8 oz).

Here’s the scary part.  Lamberti’s does not have the calories mentioned on their site however here is my best estimate at how many calories are in this entire meal:

Estimated Calories in Cappellini Primavera from Lamberti’s
800 Calories for the Cappellini (4 Servings x 200 calories)
476 Calories for the Olive Oil (4 Tablespoons x 119 Calories)
160 Calories for the Lt Garlic Marinara (2 Servings x 80 Calories)
1,436 Calories

Earth’s Unbreakable Lightbulb

solatube2Let me first start by saying this is much more expensive than a lightbulb. With that in mind, the Solatube is 1/2 light bulb and 1/2 skylight. It uses the suns rays to produce an indoor light in almost any place. We picked one of these up online at They come in 10″ and 14″ diameter however the salesperson I spoke to at my local Green Depot said the 14″ solatubes are mostly for commercial use. I’ve seen this product installed in a few homes on HGTV. We decided to try it out in our spare bathroom that has no windows on the 2nd floor. I’ll post pictures in the next few days.

Why Purchase A Tubular Daylighting Device?

  • It provides as much light as you would expect from a skylight many times its size.
  • It is cost-effective. Tubular Daylighting Devices cost considerably less than other daylighting options, such as windows and skylights, including both product and installation costs.
  • Installing it is fast, clean and easy. They require no structural reframing, tunneling, drywalling or painting. A professional can install the product in less than two hours and most Do-It-Yourselfers can finish the project in one day.
  • It can go almost anywhere. The compact and flexible design of TDDs allow them to be installed in just about any room, including rooms without direct roof access and smaller spaces where daylighting would usually not be an option.
  • It is “Green.” TDDs allow you to switch off electric lights during the day, which provides savings on energy bills and also reduces environmental pollution.
  • It is actually good for you. It has been shown in several prominent studies that increasing daily exposure to natural light can enhance mental and physical well-being, boost concentration and energy levels and a variety of other unexpected perks.

Red Robin Low Calorie Choices?

redrobin2As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m in a biggest loser competition at work, if you can call it that since there are only 2 of us in the competition. Last night I went to Red Robin for dinner which I knew was possibly going to make me go over my calories for the day.  I decided to go to their site prior to visiting the store so I could plan out my meal.  I first looked at their “Lighten Up” menu which is supposed to be their low cal offerings.   The 2 lowest options were their “Lettuce Wrap your Burger” for 422 calories and the “Garden Burger” for 517 calories.

Lettuce Wrap your Burger
422 Calories
27G Fat

The Garden Burger
517 Calories
18g Fat

Crispy Fish Burger
603 Calories
28G Fat

Grilled Turkey Burger
700 Calories
43G Fat

Grilled Salmon Burger
745 Caolries
38G Fat

I did not want the “lettuce wrap your burger” or the garden burger which left me with fish, turkey and salmon burgers.  I instead opted for a standard cheeseburger but had them not put on the seasonings / mayo.  Below is what I ended up choosing:

Red Robin Gourmet Cheeseburger w/o mayo & seasonings
740 Calories
37g Fat

Red Robin Steak Fries (shared with my wife)
195 Calories (390 calories for entire serving)
27G Fat (54G Fat for entire serving)

All in all I ate approx 935 calories and 64G of fat for dinner. That does not sound that good but to put this in to perspective I will show you what I would have normally picked at Red Robin.

Chili Chili Cheeseburger + Steak Fries
1367 Calories
74G Fat

Mudd Pie (eat 1/2)
695 Calories (1390 for entire serving)
34.5G Fat (69G Fat for entire serving)
2062 Calories
108.5G Fat

My plan over the past few weeks during the competition has been to not cut out foods that I like but to make better choices at home and while I am out.

Long time no blog

I realize it’s been a while since I last posted on my blog.  I have had lots of things to write about and little time to write about each topic.  In the coming weeks expect to see a few posts about some new gree products that we purchased over the past few weeks including the Solatube we had installed in our bathroom on Earth Day.

On another note, this week is “Bike to work week”.  Ok so Friday is actually bike to work day but it seems the powers that be are trying to turn it into an entire week.  I do live but one mile from the office and have not switched over to biking to work 100% of the time but am hoping that I will start biking to work more frequently in the coming weeks.

I have started a “biggest loser” weight loss competition at work against Dan.  We are now three weeks in and I have lost 17lbs.  There are a few factors that make that number a bit higher than it really is (ie we weighed in after lunch in jeans the 1st day and before breakfast in shorts every week since then).  I am still happy for the amount of weight I have lost as a result of tracking my calories and running.

That’s all for now!