10 Ways to Make a Healthier Pizza

by in Meal Makeovers, October 17, 2013

spinach ricotta pizza
Pizza can go either way: quintessential greasy junk food or healthy combo of fresh ingredients. Which one sounds better to you (and for you)? Here’s how to build a pie with a healthier profile.

1)    Give it a Whole-Grain Crust
You can make your own with this quick and easy recipe. Each satisfying slice will have extra fiber and protein.

2)    Use Lighter Cheeses
Go for big flavor and fewer calories by using a combination of part-skim mozzarella, sharp provolone and naturally lower-fat Parmesan.

3)    Load Up On Veggies
Pizza night is a great way to use up what’s in the fridge. There are no rules–whatever you’ve got, toss it on.

4)    Mind Your Portions
Pizza is one of those foods that folks mindlessly shovel, so it’s worth paying attention to portions (do you really need that third or fourth slice?!).

5)    Go for Healthier Topppers
Instead of gobs of cheese, opt for hearty, healthy pizza toppers like roasted squash and meaty mushrooms.

6)    Choose Leaner Meats
Meat lovers don’t have to lose out. Swap out fatty meats like pepperoni and pork sausage for thinly sliced (leaner) cuts of salami, turkey bacon and chicken sausage.

7)    Serve with Salad
Instead of simply eating less pizza, serve it up with a large salad. That will make it a lot easier to stick to tip No. 4 (see above).

8)    Spoon on Homemade Sauce
Jarred pizza sauces are usually drowning in sodium and other preservatives. Making your own will instantly improve the quality of any pizza recipe. Think beyond red sauce and try pesto or some good olive oil and fresh garlic.

9)    Add Spice
Get spicy instead of greasy. Fresh chiles and red pepper flakes are a good match for more subtle flavors like fresh tomatoes and herbs.

10)   Go for Protein
Lean steak, grilled chicken, shrimp and other lean proteins make pizza a super satisfying meal.

Fresh and Flavorful Combinations
Looking for a new favorite pizza recipe? Try any of these combos and fall in love with healthy pizza.

1)    Spinach, fresh tomato sauce and ricotta (above)
2)    Taco style: refried beans, salsa and cheddar
3)    Broccoli, fresh tomato and a smidge of crumbled bacon
4)    Roasted Butternut Squash and fresh kale
5)    Grilled chicken, roasted red pepper, fresh mozzarella, basil
6)    Zucchini, fresh fennel and chicken sausage
7)    White pie (aka no sauce) with fresh figs, caramelized onions and ricotta
8)    Arugula pesto, red onion, thinly sliced Italian salami  and red pepper flakes
9)    Portabello mushroom, roasted cauliflower and provolone cheese
10)  Thinly sliced potato and chives

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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