"Badda Boom Badda Bing," — it's probably one of the most iconic restaurant theme songs of all time.
East Side Mario's has been in Canada since 1987, and with over 80 locations in the country as well as a couple in the U.S., this Italian favourite is a go-to for many Canadians. But with promises of endless bread and salad (who can resist), it may seem impossible to actually keep track of how many calories you're consuming when you're at this chain.
Recently, the spot changed up their menu, and along with the classic options of building your own pastas and pizzas, East Side Mario's now offers everything from seafood to sandwiches to an everyday value meal with all entrees priced at $14.
Like many restaurants we've covered in the Dietitian Dish series, this one too falls flat when it comes to heavy cream sauces, hidden calories, fat and sodium. Some of the pasta entrees, including the 16-layer lasagna and seafood linguine, have over 2,000 mg of sodium.
But don't let this stop you from indulging, eating out is all about moderation.
"There are no bad restaurant choices, only bad overall diets. What you do one day doesn't matter — it is the overall week and month that is far more important for your weight and overall health," says registered dietitian Andrea Holwegner based in Calgary.
She suggests looking at how often you eat out during the week, as well as what you eat at home.
"My suggestion is to eat your best when you are on your own and when you are enjoying special social fun nights out with friends or family, this would be a more appropriate place for indulgent choices."
This week we asked experts to choose meals they would eat at East Side Mario's. For the most part, we got several pasta options (which is always a good thing), but you will also find salmon and salads as well! What do you eat at East Side Mario's? Let us know in the comments below:
In our series The Dietitian Dish, we ask Canadian dietitians what they would recommend as breakfast, lunch or dinner options at specific fast food and chain restaurants in the country. Please note, none of the dietitians below are associated with the restaurants we choose, and the restaurants are not paying us to dissect their food. Which restaurant would you like to see us tackle next? Shoot us an email at CanadaLiving@huffingtonpost.com or let us know in the comments below