What Lunchtime Really Looks Like In Italy

For many countries people take lunchtime very seriously, making it the largest meal of the day. Italy is certainly among those countries. Though America might have accepted a fate of sad desk lunches, other countries like Italy, still haven't given up their leisurely lunch often followed by a nap. Apart from this practice being one that encourages savoring life far more than being productive, it is also a great practice for living a healthy life.

According to Eating Well, people who eat a large lunch and a small dinner have an easier time slimming down and staying trim. This is because eating a large lunch keeps people full for longer during the day, so they snack a lot less. But eating a large lunch and keeping things leaner at dinner, also gives your body more hours to burn off the calories consumed before bedtime. It's no wonder this is seen as a way of life for health and wellbeing by those living it.

This is what Italians eat for lunch

The Italian lunch break, known as a riposo, pisolino or pennichella depending on where you are in Italy, usually lasts several hours between noon and 4 p.m. for most (via So Yummy). During this time, they can eat a large leisurely lunch of three or four courses. Some very traditional families or restaurants serving lunch might even wake up well before sunrise to make fresh pasta to serve when lunch rolls around, per Food52.

The courses are made up of well-balanced dishes that ward off hunger in the moment and keep people full throughout the afternoon. The first course is typically a starch such as pasta, followed by a second course of protein such as meat or fish. Next are fresh vegetables, followed by a dessert of fresh fruit (keep in mind that the portions are on the small side). It's all topped off with a touch of espresso for a light pick-me-up to return to work. Though it is more food than Americans might be used to for lunch, it certainly sounds like a wonderful way to break up the day.