Pizza can be a healthy choice, filled with complex carbohydrates, B-vitamins, calcium, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin C. However it often ends up being an indulgent, high fat, calorie-packed nightmare. When you’re starting from scratch (or ordering by phone) these pointers will help keep your meal healthy, while still pleasing your family's taste buds.
Consider the Crust
Crust is the foundation of your pizza, so be creative and open your mind to new crust possibilities, such as lower calorie versions. Keep in mind that whole-grain breads or crusts add fiber and additional nutrients to your pizza as well. Try homemade or store-bought crusts, plain bagels, pita pockets, English muffins, French bread, or whole-wheat tortillas.
Spread It On
The tomatoes in pizza sauce are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant carotenoid thought to protect against several cancers, heart disease, and possibly bone loss. Many tasty, low-sodium jarred versions of pizza sauce are available.
Load It Up
Pile on the vegetable and fruit toppings—mushrooms, olives, green peppers, broccoli, onions, spinach, pineapple, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers—for less fat, fewer calories, more fiber and more vitamins A and C.
If Meat is a Must…
Opt for leaner meats such as ground turkey, extra lean ground beef, white meat chicken, lean ham, or Canadian bacon. Cooking meats first and draining the excess fat (grease) will save on fat and calories. Seafood lovers can try water-packed shrimp, tuna, or crab. But skip the pepperoni, sausage, bacon, and prosciutto.
Say "Cheese…Just a Little, Please"
Use part-skim mozzarella, part-skim ricotta, a little Parmesan, or reduced-fat varieties. When ordering, ask for light cheese, and when unpacking a frozen delight, brush off some of the excess cheese before baking. Don’t be afraid to blot off some of the grease with a napkin—you’ll save even more calories and fat but retain taste and texture.
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