Every Pasta Dinner at Olive Garden—Ranked by Nutrition

Every Pasta Dinner at Olive Garden—Ranked by Nutrition Olive Garden, a beloved Italian-themed casual dining chain, has been a staple for families since its inception in 1982. With over 900 locations nationwide, it’s popular not only for its pasta dishes but also for its signature breadsticks and generous salad portions. However, while Olive Garden offers the comfort of traditional Italian flavors, it also presents nutritional complications by serving up dishes loaded with high-calorie ingredients, as well as hefty levels of carbs and sodium. Olive Garden’s pasta dishes come in massive portion sizes, resulting in high calorie counts. Plus, the plethora of creamy and cheesy sauces and toppings drive the artery-clogging saturated fat and sodium through the roof. Therefore, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to rank every pasta dinner from the least to the most nutritious to help you make informed choices during your visit. To determine the ranking of the pasta dishes, we looked at: Total calories Saturated fat Sodium Carbohydrates Below you’ll find the 17 dishes at Olive Garden ranked from worst to best. Be mindful that the nutrition info is for the dish alone—without the bread, garden salad, beverage, or anything else. For pretty much all of the options, the portions are just too large so splitting a dish or saving part of it for later will help keep calories under better control. For more on exactly what you should be eating more of, here are the 8 Healthiest Dishes To Order at Olive Garden. The Unhealthiest Pasta on Olive Garden’s Menu Is… the Chicken Tortelloni Alfredo Calories: 1,980 Fat: 131 g (Saturated fat: 76 g) Sodium: 3,720 mg Carbs: 95 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 9 g) Protein: 112 g This “worst” pasta option at the Olive Garden is made with cheese-filled tortelloni baked in Alfredo with a blend of cheeses and toasted breadcrumbs and topped with grilled chicken. The calories for this dish alone are the amount recommended for an entire day! It provides 380% and 162% of the recommended daily max for saturated fat and sodium, respectively. It’s just too much in terms of portions of each of the ingredients, especially when slathered in a creamy sauce. Chicken Alfredo Calories: 1,570 Fat: 95 g (Saturated fat: 56 g) Sodium: 2,290 mg Carbs: 96 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g) Protein: 81 g Cream Alfredo sauce served with fettuccine pasta and topped with grilled chicken is what you’ll get in this entrée. Once again, it’s the creamy sauce and large portion of the pasta that just makes it unhealthy. Plus, 81 grams of protein is too much—your body maximizes protein usage at around 30 grams at a time. Tour of Italy Calories: 1,550 Fat: 97 g (Saturated fat: 50 g) Sodium: 3,220 mg Carbs: 99 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 12 g) Protein: 72 g This dish provides three Olive Garden classics in one entrée including chicken parmesan, lasagna, and fettuccine Alfredo. With all this creamy goodness come loads of calories, 250% of the recommended daily amount of saturated fat, and 140% of the recommended daily amount of sodium. And let’s not forget the over six slices of bread equivalent to the amount of carbs here. Seafood Alfredo Calories: 1,450 Fat: 93 g (Saturated fat: 55 g) Sodium: 1,620 mg Carbs: 96 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 6 g) Protein: 63 g This menu option is made with creamy Alfredo sauce tossed with fettuccine, and sautéed shrimp and scallops. Although shrimp and scallops are healthier, low-calorie options, the amount of high saturated fat ingredients used (like cream and butter) and the portion size of the pasta just make this dish over the top. Ravioli Carbonara Calories: 1,390 Fat: 104 g (Saturated fat: 63 g) Sodium: 2,660 mg Carbs: 63 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g) Protein: 53 g This cheese ravioli dish is smothered in a creamy sauce with bacon and topped with a three-cheese blend. Although the calories are lower than some other menu options, the saturated fat is 315% of the recommended daily max and the sodium is 115% of the recommended daily max. Shrimp Alfredo Calories: 1,470 Fat: 93 g (Saturated fat: 55 g) Sodium: 1,620 mg Carbs: 96 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 6 g) Protein: 63 g This dish includes creamy Alfredo sauce tossed with fettuccine and sautéed shrimp. The Alfredo sauce, made with parmesan, cream, and butter are all ingredients that contribute to the calories, saturated fat, and sodium. The saturated fat is quite high providing 275% of the recommended daily max. Chicken Marsala Fettucine Calories: 1,400 Fat: 77 g (Saturated fat: 36 g) Sodium: 2,580 mg Carbs: 112 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 12 g) Protein: 55 g This order is made with chicken sautéed with spinach and mushrooms in a creamy marsala mushroom sauce served over fettuccine. The calories in this one dish—without breadsticks, salad, or any sides—is 70% of the daily calorie recommendation (based on a 2,000-calorie diet). With so many calories and creamy sauce, it’s not shocking that the saturated fat and sodium amounts are over the daily recommended amount. Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara Calories: 1,379 Fat: 91 g (Saturated fat: 47 g) Sodium: 2,050 mg Carbs: 75 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 10 g) Protein: 64 g This dish consists of sautéed chicken, shrimp, and spaghetti tossed in a creamy sauce with bacon and roasted red peppers. Although it does provide several food groups, the carb portion is just too high, equivalent to five slices of bread. Plus, the saturated fat is over twice the recommended daily max. Fettuccine Alfredo Calories: 1,310 Fat: 90 g (Saturated fat: 55 g) Sodium: 1,210 mg Carbs: 95 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g) Protein: 30 g This classic dinner entrée of creamy Alfredo sauce served over fettuccine is certainly not the healthiest. With close to three times the recommended daily amount of saturated fat and 53% of the recommended daily max of sodium, ordering this dish regularly can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. Five Cheese Ziti al Forno Calories: 1,170 Fat: 69 g (Saturated fat: 36 g) Sodium: 2,440 mg Carbs: 98 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 16 g) Protein: 46 g This entrée is a baked blend of cheeses, pasta, and a five-cheese marinara. The calories are 59% of the daily amount (based on a 2,000-calorie diet), while the saturated fat and sodium are 180% and 106% of the recommended daily max. Spaghetti & Meatballs Calories: 1,120 Fat: 62 g (Saturated fat: 27 g) Sodium: 2,110 mg Carbs: 92 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 17 g) Protein: 49 g This dinner option is served with three meatballs over meat sauce or marinara. With the meat sauce, the calories are 56% of the recommended daily amount (based on a 2,000-calorie diet) and the saturated fat is 135% of the recommended daily max. Chicken Scampi Calories: 1,050 Fat: 45 g (Saturated fat: 16 g) Sodium: 2,470 mg Carbs: 106 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 8 g) Protein: 49 g Here you’ll get chicken sautéed with bell peppers and red onions in a creamy scampi sauce served over angel hair pasta. A creamy sauce means out of control saturated fat and sodium, but you also get the equivalent of seven slices of bread with the amount of carbs in this dish. Lasagna Classico Calories: 940 Fat: 55 g (Saturated fat: 30 g) Sodium: 2,660 mg Carbs: 61 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 11 g) Protein: 54 g This classic dish is made with layers of pasta, Parmesan, mozzarella, pecorino Romano and meat sauce. It’s more towards the top of the list with fewer calories than many of the creamy sauce options, but it’s still 150% and 86% of the recommended daily max of saturated fat and sodium, respectively. Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce Calories: 750 Fat: 38 g (Saturated fat: 19 g) Sodium: 2,370 mg Carbs: 63 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 8 g) Protein: 41 g This entrée comes with ravioli filled with cheese and topped with marinara sauce or meat sauce. Compared to the daily recommended maximums, it’s still 95% and 103% for saturated fat and sodium, respectively. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Calories: 640 Fat: 22 g (Saturated fat: 7 g) Sodium: 1,050 mg Carbs: 85 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 17 g) Protein: 26 g Meat sauce served over spaghetti is the better option. The calories are less than most options and the saturated fat is 35% of the recommended daily max. Be mindful of what you pair with this dish if you’re aiming to keep the entire meal healthy— steamed veggies and limiting the bread can help! Shrimp Scampi Calories: 490 Fat: 18 g (Saturated fat: 7 g) Sodium: 1,120 mg Carbs: 52 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g) Protein: 29 g This classic dish is made with sautéed shrimp in garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes, and angel hair pasta. It’s second on the better-for-you side as the calories, saturated fat, and even carbs are more reasonable than most other options. The Healthiest Pasta on Olive Garden’s Menu Is… the Spaghetti and Marinara Calories: 490 Fat: 12 g (Saturated fat: 1 g) Sodium: 1,290 mg Carbs: 83 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 13 g) Protein: 15 g This vegetarian option has a reasonable amount of calories and only 5% of the recommended daily amount of saturated fat—less than any other pasta option. The dish itself is still not balanced with 68% of the calories coming from carbs. To better balance it, order grilled chicken or veggies on the side. This story has been updated to include new information, fact-checking, and copyedits. Wall Street Journal best-selling cookbook author who believes healthy and wholesome can also be appetizing and delicious. Read more about Toby

This content was originally published here.

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