Sunday, May 1, 2011

Surprisingly {Healthy} Pizza

Yep you read that right. Healthy. Pizza. It can be done!

I love pizza every which way...deep dish, thin crust, meat lovers, veggie lovers, stuffed crust, Chicago style, New York style...any style! If it's pizza, I love it. But it can be a high calorie, high fat, artery clogging indulgence if you don't watch out.

Here are my tips on making your pizza a nutritious, good-for-you-and-your-family meal:

  • Go with thin crust whenever possible. It really will cut down on calories while giving you just the right amount of carbohydrates in your meal. Choosing thin crust over original can cut out approximately 80 calories per slice! 
  • Try whole grain pizza dough when making your pizza. It will bump up your intake of whole grains which gives you more vitamins, minerals and fiber while reducing your glycemic load. Check out Eating Well for a good recipe. 
  • Veggies, veggies, veggies!!! Top your pizza with all your favorite vegetables (and fruit!) to make your pie healthy and delicious. I love broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, onion, olives, tomatoes and more on my pizza. I also love adding some pineapple for a sweet and savory combo. 
  • Use lean meats. Try out turkey pepperoni, turkey sausage, chicken breast, lean ham or canadian bacon or even veggie-meat alternatives like Smart Deli Pepperoni
  • Top with a low fat shredded cheese like a part skim mozzarella or your favorite reduced-fat variety. Remember to go easy on the cheese and only use a light sprinkle. A 1/4 cup is still around 70 calories! 
  • Boost flavor by adding seasonings. Try Italian seasoning, garlic, red pepper flakes, etc to really increase the taste without piling on fat and calories.
I used a large ball of pizza dough bought from my local pizza shop (such an easy way to make homemade pizza...the dough usually comes out perfect!). I know it isn't whole grain but i did stretch it out to be as thin as possible using a large cookie sheet sprayed with a bit of nonstick cooking spray. I then used my new oil mister to spray a thin layer of olive oil (about 1tsp) on top of the crust before I put on my toppings.

After mixing the pizza sauce with some fresh minced garlic and spreading evenly over the dough (don't use too much or the crust will get soggy), I layered spinach and mushrooms along with reduced fat monterey jack cheese over my crust. To top it off I sprinkled on a healthy dose of Italian seasoning and some crushed red pepper. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until golden and bubbly. Yum!

How do you like your pizza?? What tips do you have for making it healthy?

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