Pizza is one of the most popular foods out there. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like it, though I do know lots who have stopped eating it because of health concerns. But it all depends on what you’re loading it up with, whether you’re ordering out or making it at home.
Making your own pizza is so much better than ordering out. Of course, ordering out is a lot easier – but is it worth it? With the added cheese and grease, along with whatever processed toppings they use can really affect your overall health. You can save yourself lots of calories and fat by making your own.
You can enjoy pizza even if you’re on a strict diet or just trying to lose a few pounds. If you are ordering out there are a lot of options that might be offered that you don’t see advertised. So, make sure to ask. There’s always the option of ordering a plain pizza and putting on your own toppings at home. Don’t be afraid to order out, thinking it’s extremely unhealthy, but know that if you make it at home you’ll be cutting the grease and fat in half.
To make things even easier, most supermarkets have premade dough that you simply spread out, load up with your toppings and toss it in the oven. Or you can go to a pizza parlor and buy some of their dough; it’s very inexpensive. It may cost a little extra money to get the toppings you’d like but you’ll more than likely have leftovers to make another pizza, or an entirely different meal. You can change up the dough, too. There are many to choose from these days, like gluten-free, whole wheat, brown rice, or corn.
Fresh veggies on a pizza are the best. Either add them raw or heat them up a bit with olive oil in a pan. You really can’t go wrong with vegetables because they have little to no calories or fat, and almost every one offers vital vitamins and nutrients. Good veggies to try: onions, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, lettuce (salad slices), bell peppers, beets, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, eggplant, artichokes, asparagus or peas.
Unlike vegetables, there aren’t as many that can go on a pizza. Pineapple is a favorite because of its hint of sweetness, and you also get vitamins C and E, and manganese. For a less traditional pie you can try fruits like: grilled peaches, avocado, strawberries or blueberries. Fruit, especially strawberries, go great on a pizza with some goat cheese and spinach. Having fruit on a pizza can give you just the right amount of sweetness so you won’t be craving dessert afterwards.
Proteins are an important part of a healthy pizza. Usually, it’s the meat that adds the protein. Good alternatives to beef, sausage and pepperoni are grilled or roasted chicken, chicken sausages, turkey pepperoni, prosciutto, salmon and ham. Ham actually has high protein and it is lower in fat than other meats. Eggs are another good way to add some protein. You could make a ‘breakfast pizza’ – eggs, cheddar cheese, and turkey sausages!
Pesto makes a great substitute for sauce because of its healthy greens and omega-3s. It’s a good base layer for a pizza with some fresh mozzarella, onions, kale or spinach, and mushrooms. With fiber and protein, hummus is also a good choice to sub in for sauce.
Most people don’t consider a pizza a pizza without cheese. If you want a healthy pizza it doesn’t mean that you have to go without cheese, although you can. Try loading on less cheese or change the type you’re using. Mozzarella is the basic go to cheese for pizzas, but there are more to choose from, like fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, goat, feta or ricotta. Parmesan and goat cheese are lower in fat, have calcium and are higher in protein than most other cheeses. Other low fat cheeses also tend to have more protein.
Herbs, Spices and Garlic – Oh My!
Garlic goes well with almost anything. And it’s chock full of health benefits. You can even make a “paste” with garlic and olive oil, supplying you with the health benefits of both. Olives are a good choice too because they have heart healthy fats.
Herbs and spices go a long way and add a lot of flavor to your pizza. This will most likely lead to you adding fewer toppings because you’ll have so much more flavor already.
Now you’re ready to create a healthy pizza masterpiece!