All the keto-friendly menu items at Olive Garden

Although Olive Garden probably isn't the first place you think to go when you're on a diet, don't rule it out just yet. The Italian-American chain known for its unlimited breadsticks also has a lighter section on its menu, and four of the items are even keto-friendly.

Photo: Olive Garden

Tastes of the Mediterranean was added to Olive Garden's official menu in January 2017. It currently features six items under 600 calories on the dinner menu and seven on the lunch menu.

Dinner dishes include: Chicken Piccata (530 calories), Shrimp Scampi (510 calories), Herb-Grilled Salmon (460 calories), Salmon Piccata (580 calories), Chicken Margherita (570 calories) and Chicken Giardino (600 calories). The lunch menu is mostly lower in calories thanks to its smaller portions, but it also includes Ravioli di Portobello (570 calories). 

Photo: Olive Garden

Calories aren't everything, though. It's important to eat food that will help fuel your body, keep you feeling full and provide you with nutrients.

If for you that means doing the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet, listen up! Four of the menu items are also keto-friendly, including the Chicken Piccata, Salmon Piccata, Herb-Grilled Salmon and the Chicken Margherita. However, be sure to swap the side of Parmesan-crusted zucchini for a side of broccoli to stay in ketosis. (Ketosis is the metabolic state your body goes into that turns your fat into ketones and uses them as fuel, aka what happens when you eat very little carbs.) 

Of course, each of these menu items also work for the Mediterranean diet, so whether you're trying to eat healthier or not, your body can benefit. This year the US News and World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best diet overall for 2019, as well as best diet for healthy eating, best plant-based diet, best diet for diabetes and easiest diet to follow. The diet includes filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil and fish.

So, head to your local Olive Garden or place an order online for pick up and live your healthiest life in 2019 (or, you know, at least for the first few weeks of January). 

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