Pizza is my husband’s absolute favorite food in the world. I think he could literally eat pizza for all three meals every single day and be happy. Deep dish, thin crust, artisan-style, frozen — he doesn’t discriminate, he loves them all. So of course, one of my missions has been to make-over pizzas in a way that would satisfy the husband’s picky palate, but also suit my healthy tastes. And after almost 10 years of being together, I have had tons of practice in building a healthier yet tasty pizza. Pizza doesn’t have to only be a guilty pleasure, you can have your pie and eat it too!
10 Tips to make Pizza a Healthy Meal:
1: Use a Whole Wheat Crust. Many stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have started carrying fresh, whole wheat dough that you can roll out into a crust and make at home.
2: Make a Thinner Crust. If you’re using store bought dough, try using only 12 Oz of the dough and roll out a thinner crust. You’ll save at least 30 calories a slice without losing any flavor!
3: Use Whole Wheat Pita Bread. Instead of using a traditional crust, make personal pizzas using whole wheat pita bread as your “crust”! One entire pizza will only run you 276.5 calories, 10g fat and 31.9g carbs and will have 6g fiber, 3.5g Sugar and 16.9g Protein!
4: Load on Veggies. I will literally throw any veggies I have onto our pizzas. Kale and butternut squash; peppers, onions, zucchini, tomatoes; pear and arugula, the list of combinations could go on and on. I love this recipe for a Zucchini Ribbons Pizza with Raisins and Pine Nuts. Vegetables add tons of fiber help to bulk up your pizza, so you don’t need as much cheese or fat and it’s still tastes delicious.
5: Cut back on cheese. Opt for sharper tasting cheeses like parmesan, pecorino and part skim mozzarella so you can use less of it. I use about 1 cup for an entire pizza and it’s more than enough.
6: Watch sugar in artificial sweetners. If you’re buying your pizza sauce, opt for a variety that has zero (or 1g) sugar, is low in sodium and has no preservatives. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both have great options.
7: Order the 12 inch over 16 inch. 12 inch pizzas have almost half the calories of a 16 inch pizza and both fill you almost the same way.
8: Avoid using extra oil. You don’t need to add oil to your crust or pizza pan, a bit of cooking spray will do the trick and save you a ton of calories and fat. And if you’re sautéing your veggies before topping your pizza, use only 1 tsp of oil and tons of spices to amp up the flavor (oregano, garlic, crushed red pepper are good options).
9: Try going vegetarian. Instead of pepperoni, sausage, and salami, try going meatless and bulking up your pizza with veggies or grilled chicken or shrimp for protein.
10: Watch your portions. Usually 2 slices of pizza + some salad will be filling enough and will guarantee that you don’t end up eating more than 500 calories of pizza at dinner.