This “Italian” mash-up has half a day’s calories

By Jolene Mafas


You’ve got to hand it to Olive Garden. Sales at “casual dining” restaurants are on the skids, yet the Garden has apparently found a way to buck the trend.

The secret? Innovation…Olive Garden style. The chain that brought the world Italian meat-and-cheese nachos, deep-fried breaded lasagna, pasta-stuffed pot pies, and breadstick sandwiches never has to scrape the bottom of the barrel to come up with yet another crowd-pleasing mix of cheese, meat, and white flour galore.

The latest: the Meatball Pizza Bowl—a bowl-shaped pizza crust filled with meat sauce and melted cheese and topped with meatballs.

The dish is part of the Lunch Duos menu. Its theme: “Get more out of lunch.” Got that right. Nothing like having half a day’s calories (950) for just half of your “duo.”

The other half? Unlimited breadsticks and salad (or soup). Oops!

Let’s say you have just one breadstick and one serving of salad with house dressing with your pizza bowl. (It could happen.) Now your lunch is up to 1,240 calories and 1½ days’ worth of saturated fat (31 grams) and sodium (3,730 milligrams). All for just $8.99.

It’s like eating 1½ Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s Personal Pan Pizzas.

“Get never-ending value for lunch at Olive Garden,” goes the TV ad.

Value, schmalue. It’s the never-ending diabetes we’re worried about.

Photo: Jen Urban/CSPI.

The information in this post first appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.

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