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The Health of It All

Eating Healthier at Chain Restaurants: Olive Garden

Olive Garden Logo

Most chain restaurants in the last ten years or so have actually worked on their nutrition, especially in lowering the amount of added salt. Olive Garden has not, and has in fact increased the amount of sodium in their dishes.

Just like ten years ago, when we first looked at items from Olive Garden, there is virtually nothing that we can recommend that you eat at their restaurants. Nevertheless, I have created this list of selected items for you to use if you get stuck at Olive Garden.

There is not much to recommend in the way of appetizers or salads. Even the Salad Without Dressing contains 250 milligrams of sodium. Salad? No Dressing? 250 milligrams of sodium? How does that happen?

Interestingly, the breadsticks now contain 90 milligrams more than in 2010 and their Pasta Fagioli Soup has an additional 30 milligrams. Crazy.

The Shrimp Scampi seems reasonable by comparison to their other entrees, because it comes in at under 1,000 milligrams of sodium. Most are like the Carbonara, at over 2,000 milligrams of sodium. The Fettuccine Alfredo approaches reasonable at only 610 milligrams of sodium, but it has an appalling 45 grams of fat (63% of calories from fat).

Better for you to stay at home and have the Dr. Gourmet Fettuccine Alfredo, Shrimp Scampi, or Pasta Fagioli.

Menu Item Calories Sodium (mg) Dietary Fiber (g)
Breadstick with garlic topping (1 ea.) 140 460 <1 g
Pasta Fagioli Soup 150 710 3
Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce 310 490 3
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce 360 530 3

Review posted: August 17, 2020