Healthy Options at Olive Garden

Wondering about healthy options at Olive Garden? You’re in luck! Here are a dietitian’s picks on what to order.

closeup of penne pasta

While Olive Garden may be known for endless bread baskets and super oily––yet truly out-of-this-world––eggplant Parmesan, don’t be surprised when you hear there are healthy options at Olive Garden.

When it comes to eating healthy at Olive Garden, you can absolutely accomplish this. I’ve got you covered, so read on! 

A bowl of pasta and garlic bread

When I think of Olive Garden, I reminisce back to when I was 18 and just coming off of a plane from Israel.

It was dinner time there but breakfast in Miami, where I landed with my best friend Deborah.

Her grandparents took us to Olive Garden for “dinner,” and we got there just as the restaurant was opening and the staff was practicing the “happy birthday” song.

All memories aside, I’ve been at least occasionally eating at the restaurant since I was a kid, so I definitely appreciate a healthier option (or two or three). I’m sure you do, too!

Healthy dishes at Olive Garden

When it comes to healthy options at Olive Garden, it helps to take a look at the restaurant’s nutrition information. This outlines the calories, fat, saturated fat, and other nutrition info you need to make a healthy choice.

I did the work for you and came up with a short list of smart orders. What to eat at Olive Garden? Here are some healthy meals at Olive Garden to consider:

  • Minestrone Soup: 110 calories
  • Pasta Figioli Soup: 150 calories
  • Salad with Signature Italian Dressing: 150 calories
  • Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce (lunch portion): 310 calories
  • Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (lunch portion): 360 calories
  • Shrimp Scampi (dinner portion): 510 calories
  • Cheese Pizza (kids’ menu): 400 calories
  • Cheese Ravioli (kids’ menu): 340 calories
  • Steamed Broccoli: 35 calories
  • Watermelon Margarita: 190 calories
  • White Claw Hard Seltzer: 100 calories
  • Unsweetened Iced Tea: 0 calories
  • Strawberry and White Chocolate Dolcini: 190 calories
  • Wild Berry Cheesecake Dolcini: 220 calories
a plate full of spaghetti

Tips for making Italian food healthier

When it comes to ordering healthy options at Olive Garden, part of the know-how is adjusting your order. Use these tips for a lighter order.

Skip the croutons

One of my favorite menu items at OG is the house salad. To make it lighter, you can always ask for a low-fat dressing, or you can order the salad without croutons, to save calories.

Create your own pasta dish

You can order the Cucina Mia! at Olive Garden, which is a create-your-own pasta dish that allows you to enjoy the pasta that you’re craving but in a more customizable, healthier way.

This dish can be as low as 530 calories. I’d recommend going with the whole-grain linguine with marinara sauce, with sautéed shrimp and a double helping of garden veggies.

The marinara sauce has 190 calories, while if you go with olive oil, that’s 1,630 calories! It’s definitely one of the healthier options at Olive Garden.

Skip anything creamy

“Creamy” is a key word that means higher calories—the creamy mushroom sauce at Olive Garden, for example, has 860 calories.

Final thoughts

When it comes to healthy options at Olive Garden, you have many choices to choose from. It helps to have a list of items that you’d feel comfortable ordering ahead of time.

Wondering about healthy options at Olive Garden? You're in luck! Here are a dietitian's picks on what to order.

What are your thoughts on these healthy options at Olive Garden?

Plant-Based Eating |

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