Eating Healthier at Fast Food and Chain Restaurants

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The Health of It All

Eating Healthier at Chain Restaurants: Buca di Beppo

Buca di Beppo Logo

Reading the nutrition information from chain restaurants can be truly dismaying. In the past few weeks we've looked at some OK choices at Panda Express, Chopt, Sweetgreen, and Boston Market, but places like Chick-fil-A and Olive Garden are, to put it bluntly, sodium bombs.

Buca di Beppo is special, however.

Most chain restaurant meals are over the top in terms of portion size, but Buca di Beppo's dishes are served "family style" - either small or large. Their nutrition information states, "Calories are per serving based on a Buca Small which serves 3. Bread & Pizza calories are per piece." This means it would be all too easy to eat more than 1 serving, especially if you order more than one item.

If you do find yourself at a Buca di Beppo, do not order any of the Traditional Pastas or Specialty Pastas. Even a single serving of these has a minimum of 1,800 milligrams of sodium and the average is over 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Even those dishes that you might think would be healthier, like their Spaghetti Marinara or Shrimp Fra Diavolo, have 1800 and 1910 milligrams of sodium, respectively. Of their Stuffed Pastas, the only one close to acceptable is their Ravioli al Pomodoro, with 690 milligrams of sodium.

Even those items that are lighter in sodium can be higher in fat, like their Mussels Bianca, which might be a good meal at 630mg sodium - but it has 37 grams of fat, 19 of which are saturated fat. Their Salmon Sorrento has only 260 milligrams of sodium - but 60 grams of fat, and like Olive Garden, even their salads are full of sodium, with only the Caesar Salad being acceptable.

Your best bet is to have a cup of their Tuscan Bean Soup and a side of Green Beans for a meal with 870 total milligrams of sodium.

A last note: do not order from the Kids Menu. Every meal on the children's menu has over 1,000 milligrams of sodium.

Item Name Calories Fat
Sod (mg) Fiber (g)
Fried Calamari 120 7 270 1
Mozzarella Caprese 180 16 430 1
Garlic Bread 60 2.5 110 0
Mozzarella Garlic Bread 70 3.5 140 0
Bianca Pizza 180 8 340 0
Pizza con Formaggio 190 9 570 1
Margherita Pizza 160 6 450 1
Caesar Salad 140 11 440 2
Minestrone Soup Cup 120 2.5 600 2
Tuscan Bean Soup Cup 80 1 390 4
Spicy Italian Sausage Soup Cup 240 22 530 1
Ravioli al Pomodoro 300 12 690 2
Chicken Marsala 410 14 140 3
Green Beans 180 16 480 4
Brussels Sprouts & Prosciutto 180 14 520 3
Sausage & Peppers 230 16 490 2

Review posted: October 5, 2020