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Pizza is great. It’s inexpensive, quick, and most importantly, delicious—but it often gets a bad rap. Here are some tips to make this classic dish a balanced, healthy meal.
A Healthy Base
Opt for a thin crust, preferably made from whole grains. Deep-dish versions are usually greasier and pack more simple carbohydrates than you need, and stuffed crusts don’t add much other than unnecessary calories and fat.
More healthy crust ideas
For some crusts made with unconventional ingredients, see the links below:
Greek Yogurt Pizza Crust, CLICK HERE.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust, CLICK HERE.
Portabella Mushroom “Pizzas,” CLICK HERE.
Chicken Pizza Crust, CLICK HERE.
Beef Meatza Crust, CLICK HERE.
Don’t be shy with sauce, as tomatoes are a rich source of antioxidants. Look for bottled and canned options with no sugar and less sodium.
Creative tomato sauce alternatives
Here are some easy options to try:
- Butternut purée
- Crushed garlic in a bit of olive oil
- Hummus or bean spread
- Puréed roasted peppers
- Walnut pesto
Keep the cheese for protein, but try ordering it “light” to reduce the hit of cholesterol. Fresh, part-skim mozzarella and ricotta are delicious, or opt for strongly flavored cheeses like feta, blue, or goat. Some restaurants offer soy- or lactose-free cheese, or try them when making pizza at home.
Fresh, grilled, or roasted veggies are perfect pizza toppers, since they’re high in vitamins and fiber. Get creative: sweet potato with spinach, cranberries, and walnuts, for example. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, add some pineapple, dried fruit, or candied nuts.
If you like meat, try grilled chicken, shrimp, turkey, or tofu. There are yummy turkey and soy sausages, too. Lean proteins will provide sustained energy and have lower saturated fat than pepperoni and traditional sausage.
On the Side
Complement your pizza with steamed veggies or a fresh salad, and wash it all down with some lemon-spiked water or seltzer.
Pizza doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure. Next time you order, think about your body as well as your taste buds!
Get help or find out more
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight
The New York Times, “Healthier Pizzas”