Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nonna's Diet Tips

My nonna is like a second mother to me. She is in town from Trieste, Italy. She used to live with my family 6 months out of the year, but now she only comes for a few months at a time... She is turning 86 this week, and doesn't look a day over 70.. seriously. My grandmother is beautiful, strong, independent, and has the most beautiful skin in the world. Also, she has maintained a beautiful figure all these years.. And she doesn't hesitate to tell me how. Nonna is not a fan of all this "dieting". She thinks that it has gotten out of control and she thinks that's why Americans are fat! But that's for another discussion... Today, I would like to share Nonna's diet tips (diet as in how to maintain a healthy, strong, lean body by what you put in your mouth day in and day out for your whole life).

1. Eat everything, but not too much of everything.
2. Don't eat huge meals, but rather eat smaller meals throughout the day.
3. Get up from the table without having a "hard stomach" (hard to translate that word from her dialect)i.e. get up from the table like you could still eat more.
4. Reserve sweets for very special occasions and not as a daily indulgence.
5. Don't be afraid of carbs! Eat something carb heavy at lunch and a protein + veggies for dinner..
6. Don't eat too much cheese. (she thinks cheese should be an indulgence and you should only add a little to your pasta or meal and never just eat it straight up with crackers)

A sample of what Nonna eats in a day:

Breakfast (right when she wakes up):
-Espresso or coffee with milk and no sweetener
-A brioche or crossiant with just a tiny bit of jam to sweeten it

Morning Snack:
-Half an apple with some yogurt (she swears the yogurt makes the apple AMAZING haha)


-80-100 grams of pasta with some kind of sauce and a teeny piece of bread.. examples of sauces are: a small eggplant sauteed with some olive oil and spices, or a baby can of tuna with the oil left in it, or fresh tomatoes sliced with basil, or some homemade tomato sauce with some peppers tossed in, etc.
-Seltzer water

Afternoon Snack:

-the other half of her apple

-a piece of chicken or lamb, or steak, or pork or or or (about 3-4 oz)
-a very large salad with olive oil, salt, and lemon. Sometimes she adds an egg or some artichoke hearts or some other kind of fun addition
-And water, maybe mixed with a little wine

Nonna always emphasizes quantity (not too much) and quality (the best).
I find her tips very helpful, and take the fact that she is 86 without a single health issue besides diabetes due to age to be a sign that she must be doing something right!!

**Let me just add a few comments. My grandmother thinks I am beautiful, yet always finds the need to give me diet tips (yet pushes me to eat more haha), and style tips (although I wear my cutest outfits around her haha). She makes me laugh, because those two topics come up in every conversation we have haha. Also, she thinks that on special occasions we SHOULD indulge, because that is the best time to do it- when surrounded by people we love, celebrating something beautiful. And she always believes that one should really enjoy his/her meals, and to therefore eat everything, but in small quantities.


Anonymous said...

awww that is too cute for your nonna to give you those tips :)

however i think if i ate just that all day i'd pass out, so i give her tons of credit for maintaining such a healthy lifestyle!!!

Irbas said...


haha well... she eats mostly that but then also eats sweets even though she's not supposed to! and tons of bread! but she never mentions THAT part to me hahaha!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

What a terrific post. No wonder your Nonna has been able to live so long. She eats healthily but doesn't stress about treating herself. So many people in today's world (especially in the blogs I've come across) are obsessed with being 100% healthy 100% of the time that they've taken it to an unhealthy level-- NO sugar, no oil, no carbs... the stress is sure to kill them before an innocent little bit of heart-healthy olive oil! My Italian grandmother (Mimi) is the same way as your grandmother. She's 84, but you'd never know it!