Ah, pizza—the one food that most everyone can agree on. From the ubiquitous 2am slices grabbed after a night out, to the artisan creations at upscale restaurants, pizza is one of the most beloved, shared, and universal foods. But all too often, pizza’s connotations are far too often laden with guilt—after all, it’s often seen as an unhealthy indulgence. At its core, pizza doesn’t have to be unhealthy—and it’s far too delicious for us to write it off as simply an unhealthy guilty pleasure.
Rather, pizza can be both tasty and healthy, if you choose the right ingredients and cooking methods. With just a few tips and tricks, you can enjoy all the flavors, textures, and other wonders that pizza has to offer, and still feel good about what you’re eating.
Welcome to pizza connoisseurship 101: Healthy Pizza, Happy Life. Whether you’re looking to make healthier pizza crust choices when ordering takeout, like to whip up homemade pies in the kitchen, or simply head out to your favorite pizza joint, the following will help you make smarter and healthier decisions when it comes to one of the world’s favorite foods.
Making Healthier Pizza Crust Choices
The first step to creating a tasty and healthy pizza is, of course, to choose the right crust. Many pizza connoisseurs go for the classic, holey flatbread option, but there are a variety of other crusts out there that can kick things up a notch. For instance, if you’re looking for something lighter and low-carb, try out a cauliflower crust. Much like its wheat-based counterparts, it can easily be topped with your favorite toppings, and can still provide a crunchy, delicious base.
If you find your stomach a bit sensitive to wheat, try opting for a gluten-free crust. Though it sometimes takes a bit of experimentation to nail the perfect gluten-free crust, many hybrid pizza chefs have succeeded in making delicious recipes that chime with their particular dietary needs. There are now delicious options for the gluten-averse that go far beyond basic rice flour.
Finally, there are the healthy options. For instance, sweet potato crusts are a great way to sneak in more good carbs, as well as other more nutritious alternatives like spelt or even chickpea flour. These nutrition-packed options aren’t just restricted to veggie lovers—meat eaters can also reap the rewards. Try using an almond and whey protein crust, or a crust made with organic, grass-fed beef.
Now that you’ve got the perfect crust for your pizza, it’s time to move onto the toppings. Though pepperoni, sausage, and cheese are classic favorites, they can be some of the least healthy choices when it comes to pizza. To add more vegetables and good nutrition, try loading up your pizza with greens, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, or any other veggie you like.
You can also cut back on the cheese and add some healthy fats, like avocados or olives. And if you’re looking for an even healthier option, try a vegan pizza. Just switch out the dairy cheese for a plant-based alternative and your slice will be high in nutrients and low in cholesterol.
Healthy Pizza-Eating Habits
Once your pizza is cooked to perfection, you may find yourself wanting to scarf down the whole thing! But really, moderation is key when it comes to pizza. Consider opting for half-sized slices, or when grabbing a large slice from your favorite pizzeria, make use of the ‘one-slice’ rule. It’s a great way to cap your pizza intake and ensure that you’re not overeating.
Another great tip for healthy pizza eating is to consider the number of ingredients. Having one or two toppings on a pizza is fine, but having too many toppings can push the calories up. As a rule of thumb, three to five toppings should be plenty.
Finally, prepare your own pizza at home. There are lots of great recipes out there for healthy and delicious homemade pies that can rival what you’ll find in the pizzeria. You can adjust and customize the ingredients to your own dietary needs and preferences, ensuring that you get a healthy, delicious meal.
For the pizza lover out there, pizza can still be a guilty pleasure that doesn’t make you feel guilty afterward. With the right ingredients, cooking methods, and eating habits, you can make tasty, healthy pizzas that still satisfy your taste buds and don’t skimp on flavor. Whether you’re a home-cook or a pizza connoisseur, following these simple tips will help you make smarter and healthier choices when it comes to one of the world’s favorite foods. Bon appétit!
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