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Endless breadsticks -- Olive Gardan

by Matthew K.
(Chicago, IL)

One restaurant that I would not recommend to anyone on a diet would be the Olive Garden. Although I like their food, the portions are very hefty and fat-heavy.

Italian food is traditionally very fattening - including pasta, marinara sauce, lots of cheese, etc. Olive Garden picks up on this tradition with their delicious, yet cholesterol raising meals.

In addition to the meals, their addicting breadsticks are sometimes all-you-can eat...leading to excessive breadstick consumption.

Some of the food is also very greasy which gives me a very fattening feeling, a feeling I try to avoid.

I am not saying Olive Garden is a bad restaurant! It's just not a good choice for anyone who is watching what they eat.

Comments for Endless breadsticks -- Olive Gardan

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Re: Olive Garden
by: Marie

I actually work at the Olive Garden, and while I agree that many of our entree portions are way too large and high in cholesterol, I'd like to offer some suggestions.

I used to struggle eating at the Olive Garden because it's all just so good and, yes, the breadsticks are trouble. Now, I cut back by always ordering the lunch portion OR splitting an entree with someone else. Olive Garden entrees are perfect for splitting! Plus with all the salad and bread who can eat a full entree alone?

I've also learned to limit the bread. Don't ask for a refill on bread until your entrees have been served. By then, you'll begin to realize how full you are.

Finally, ask for a Garden Fare menu-it's the "nutritionally sound", so to speak, menu. There are quite a few appetizers and entrees available that won't ruin your diet. One of my favorites-the LUNCH portion of the capellini pomodoro-angel hair pasta with tomatoes and olive oil.

I completely agree that Olive Garden has the potential to ruin a diet, but you don't have to let it!

Great Food, Just Make It Last!
by: Mama of Four

Hello, I also love Olive Garden's fare. My four children are all very close in age, mostly fifteen months apart. Because of this, I learned that being mindful of your diet should be more a way of life than a set thing you do for a specified amount of time. When I go out to eat, I want to be able to enjoy my meal, and order whatever I want!
A great way to accomplish this is to have a healthy snack before you leave the house. Now, this might seem counterproductive, but think a little further. When you see the menu, you begin to mentally taste the different choices until you have made your selection. When you are very hungry, you see much more that you want. If you are only somewhat hungry, you will not order as much. If you fill up on the salad and breadsticks, both of which are really good, you certainly do not have to finish your entree. Not only that, but this stretches your dollar. I usually end up with two or three meals from a single restaurant portion. This makes one outing a much smaller expense, and allows me to fully enjoy the food.
If you eat for taste, and tend to overeat as a result, try telling the table attendant that you do not want the breadsticks. They will usually argue that they are free, but just say you would not want to waste them as you will not be eating them. Out of sight, out of mind, out of tummy!
But really, enjoy your night out and eat the foods you want, just make them last. Stretch your budget, not your waistband!

Olive Garden weakness
by: Rhianna

I agree. The Olive Garden is a diet pitfall for me. I am a carb girl. I love my bread! The endless breadsticks do not help with my weight loss. Red Lobster is another place where I have trouble due to the delicious cheddar bay biscuits. I wouldn't mind Olive Garden so much if I could eat endless salad. I try to eat half my dinner when I go out and save the rest for another meal at home. When I do overindulge, I do a workout DVD or go for an extra walk outside if the weather is nice.

Olive Garden bad for dieters
by: Dawn Minich

I do agree that Olive Garden is very bad for anyone watching their diet. Their portions are quite large. That can be good if you don't have weight issues.

Their unlimited breadsticks is a cholesterol laden carb-fest. A lot of their food is fried, greasy, and full of cholesterol.

I stay away from almost all restaurants when I am dieting. If I do go out, I will have a salad and a side of vegetables or something like that.

Last time I was at Olive Garden was in October. I had to go to Ohio for my grandmother's funeral. Still trying to get over that. Anyway, between the wakes, we went to Olive Garden for dinner. Well, because of the unlimited breadsticks, and the fact I was grieving, my diet was thrown off a bit.

After I got back home a few days later, I had gained 3 pounds, yuk. It took me a good couple weeks to lose that 3 pounds and start all over again. Just a small set-back, though.

Since I seriously started working out I have lost 27 pounds. I still have about 10 to go. I ride my stationary bike a lot. It tracks calories burned, mph, laps, and speed. I am also an anxious person, so working out helps burn that tense energy.

My favorite Italian restaurant
by: Anonymous

I totally agree that Olive Garden is one the worst restaurants to lose weight. It?s one of my favorites. Being an Indian, we don't cook much Italian. So, I love to go to this place. Oh, but the food is so heavy in calorie that I at least put on 2 pounds the day I go there. I just love their bread and the spinach dip, but everything is so oily and cheesy and not so healthy and tasty on the other hand. I cannot resist having soda with the food to get the good taste.

I think every other restaurant is similar. They put more cheese, oil in the food to make food more delicious and attract more customers. No one wants to go out of business. Olive garden is also one of them. Everyone including me likes yummy, tasty food and they serve it. I think it?s us who have to learn to resist such food. Eat them rarely so that we don't gain those extra pounds.

by: Anonymous

I heard that Olive Garden no longer gives out breadsticks...

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