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Building a Healthier Pizza

Posted on: February 7th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

PizzaFebruary 9 is National Pizza Day – not that we need an excuse to nosh on America’s go-to delivery dinner. While pizza is high on convenience, it’s generally low on nutritional value – think low-fiber, white-flour crust; sparse veggies (if any); and mountains of high-fat meats and cheeses. While this sort of decadence is okay as an occasional treat, if pizza’s a regular meal at your house, it’s time to consider a makeover for your pie. With refrigerated pizza dough becoming a grocery store staple, creating your own signature recipes at home is easier than you think. Follow these steps to build a healthier pie from the crust up:

Make the crust count. Your pizza crust should be more than a carrier for all those delicious toppings – make sure it brings some healthy fiber to the table. Whip up your own whole-wheat dough, or purchase refrigerated dough or a prebaked whole-grain crust at the grocery store. If you’re feeling really motivated, try your hand at a cauliflower crust – it’s all the rage in certain nutritional circles.

Super sauce. Skip the unhealthy white sauce and go for antioxidant-rich marinara, basil pesto, or a brushing of your favorite flavored olive oil. Just make sure any premade sauces you use aren’t laced with added sugars or preservatives.

Here come the veggies. Seize the chance to use up all those odds and ends of produce in your fridge. We don’t even want to stifle your creativity with combo suggestions – the secret is to generously cover your crust with veggies and pile them high.

Lean meats, please. Try a sprinkling of turkey pepperoni or sausage to satisfy that itch, or go for leftover grilled chicken, deli ham, or even precooked shrimp. Think of this part as a flavor enhancer, rather than the main event.

Be cheese smart. It’s good news that Parmesan and part-skim mozzarella are naturally lower-fat options when it comes to cheese. Even so, you’ll still find reduced-fat versions of mozzarella, often in convenient shredded form. Try using half the cheese you normally would – with all those yummy vegetables you’ve added, chances are you won’t even miss it.

Add a salad. Of course, this isn’t about making pizza, per se, but filling up on greens can help curtail your pie consumption and gives your meal an added produce boost. Use an olive oil vinaigrette for a nice complement to pizza.

We hope you’ll have fun discovering a pizza that reflects your unique tastes while being a healthier choice. If busy nights have you reaching for the phone to get takeout, don’t despair. Many pizza joints are now offering better options for health-minded customers. Ask about whole-grain crusts, reduced cheese portions, lean meats, and veggie-rich options – you might be pleasantly surprised!

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