Pizza is the 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 (6 years of which, as a married couple), I have had tons of practice in building a healthier (but still super tasty) pizza.
Pizza doesn’t have to only be a guilty pleasure, you can have your pie and eat it too!
Here are my Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Building a Healthier Pizza:
Tip #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. You can also make your own dough at home using this simple recipe here. If you’re using fresh dough, consider buying a pizza stone – because they will make your pizza crust perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside!
Tip #2: Make a Thinner Crust. If you’re using store bought dough (that usually comes in a 16oz pack), try using only 12oz of the dough and roll out a thinner crust. You’ll save at least 30 calories a slice without losing any of the flavor!
Tip #3: Try Using 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!
Tip #4: Load Up 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. Veggies add tons of fiber, help to bulk up your pizza (so you don’t need as much cheese or fat), and taste delicious. Which brings me to…
Tip #5: Cut back on the 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 (like in this Green Pepper and Onion Pizza Recipe) and it’s more than enough.
Tip #6: Watch the sugar in pre-made sauces. 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.
Tip #7: If you’re ordering in, get a 12 inch pizza (not a 16 inch one!) This graphic (and this tip) was inspired by CookingLight.com
Tip #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 some of my favs).
Tip #9: Try going vegetarian (or opt for leaner meats). Instead of pepperoni, sausage, and salami — try going meatless and bulking up your pizza with veggies, or choose grilled chicken or shrimp for protein.
Tip #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.
That is it! For more healthy pizza recipes, click here. Now go throw yourself a pizza party that you can feel great about!
On a separate note, I just wanted to thank ALL of you who participated in taking my survey a few weeks ago! Over 300 of you responded (thank you!!!) and your feedback was super helpful. Some of you had great post ideas (which you’ll be seeing on the blog in the next few months), and I’ll be tweaking some things here and there to make sure you have the best experience possible! If you’d like a detailed look at the results, contact me here and I’ll email them to you. Just wanted to say thanks again, your feedback and ideas were definitely heard, and I’m excited to continue to share my recipes, healthy tips, and love for food with all of you!