Quick Bites: Olive Garden

We are back with another installment from our popular Quick Bites series! If you are new to our blog, check out our Nutrition 101 page for our all of our quick bite reviews on popular restaurants. In each review, we include our recommendations on what to order and what to avoid when eating at these establishments. Don’t forget to look at our review on Chick-fil-a for the nutritional markers we look for when eating out. Today, we are reviewing a classic place and a favorite of many: Olive Garden. As you can imagine, the menu includes many dishes that would exceed a person’s daily intake of sodium, fat and saturated fat. But, there are a few dishes that made our choose list!



Appetizers and Flatbreads:

Choose – Stuffed Mushrooms (sampler/ appetizer portion): 380 calories, 30 gm total fat, 8 gm saturated fat, 860 mg sodium, 13 gm carbohydrates, 1 gm fiber, 3 gm sugar, 15 gm protein
Choose– Shrimp Fresco: 250 calories, 14 gm total fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 870 mg sodium, 4 gm carbohydrates, 1 gm fiber, 1 gm sugar, 27 gm protein
Choose (in moderation- 1 serving of breadsticks): 140 calories, 2.5 gm total fat, 0.5 gm saturated fat, 460 mg sodium, 25 gm carbohydrates, <1 gm fiber, 1 gm sugar, 4 gm protein
*One serving of breadsticks is actually better than many of the other appetizer options!

Avoid – Lasagna Fritta: 1070 calories, 71 gm fat, 29 gm saturated fat {1.5 gm trans fat}, 1650 mg sodium, 73 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fiber, 4 gm sugar, 35 gm protein
Avoid– Grilled Chicken Flatbread: 760 calories, 51 gm total fat, 19 gm saturated {0.5 gm trans fat}, 2110 mg sodium, 42 gm carbohydrates, 2 gm fiber, 4 gm sugar, 34 gm protein

*Highest Na – Classic Calamari (2400mg), Highest saturated fat – Lasagna Fritta (29 gm) / Fried Mozzarella (28 gm)

Soups and Salads:

Choose – Famous House salad with low fat dressing: 100 calories, 4 gm total fat, 0 gm saturated fat, 690 mg sodium, 13 gm carbohydrates, 2 gm fiber, 4 gm sugar, 2 gm protein
Choose – Minestrone soup: 110 calories, 1.5 gm fat, 0 gm saturated, 840 mg sodium, 18 gm carbohydrates, 4 gm fiber, 4 gm sugar, 5 gm protein

*Highest Na – Chicken and Gnocchi soup (1420 mg), Highest saturated fat – Zuppa Toscana (6 gm)

Dinner Cucina Mia (build your own pasta):
*Combine the nutritionals from each category for your total calorie intake (Pasta base + sauce + topping)

Pasta base– All are similar in nutritional facts but I would recommend choosing the Tri-colored vegetable penne which is lowest in saturated fat (2.5gm) and in carbohydrates (67 gm). Be aware that the gluten free pasta has the largest amount of carbohydrates per serving (88 gm).
SaucesChoose: Traditional meat sauce // Avoid: Asiago Garlic Alfredo: 940 calories, 94 gm total fat (!!),  57 gm saturated fat (!!)- which is the equivalent to almost 3 McDonald Quarter Pounders with cheese, 1320 mg sodium
ToppingsChoose: Grilled Chicken or Sauteed Shrimp // Avoid: Italian Sausage: 470 calories, 41 gm total fat, 14 gm saturated fat, 1140 mg sodium


Choose–  All lighter Italian fare options (Garlic Rosemary Chicken, Baked Tilapia with Shrimp, Citrus Chicken Sorrento, Herb- grilled Salmon)
Choose: Baked Tilapia with Shrimp- 360 calories, 12 gm total fat, 6 gm saturated fat, 1130 mg sodium, 12 gm carbohydrate, 5 gm fiber, 4 gm sugar, 52 gm protein
Choose (although still not a great option, it is the best of the classic recipe options)- Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce: 780 calories, 39 gm total fat, 20 gm saturated fat, 2140 mg sodium, 68 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fiber, 11 gm sugar, 41 gm protein

Avoid: Tour of Italy- 1520 calories, 96 gm total fat, 48 gm saturated fat {1.5 gm trans fat}, 3250 mg sodium (which is equivalent to the sodium content in 4 slices of Papa John’s large pepperoni pizza), 92 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fiber, 19 gm sugar, 75 gm protein
Avoid: Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara- 1590 calories, 114 gm total fat, 61 gm saturated fat, 2410 mg sodium, 78 gm carbohydrates, 4 gm fiber, 12 gm sugar, 66 gm protein
Avoid: Steak Gorgonzola – Alfredo- 1380 calories, 85 gm total fat, 51 gm saturated fat {2 gm trans fat}, 2810 mg sodium, 88 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fiber, 8 gm sugar, 68 gm protein

*Highest carbohydrate – Eggplant Parmesan (113 grams – equivalent to 7.5 slices of bread!)

HBH quick bites- OG


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  1. […] you the ability to mix and match to make your own personal combos. With the popularity of our Quick Bites posts, we thought we would continue by highlighting some of the recommended menu items at Corner Bakery […]

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