Eating a delicious pizza is so satisfying. The ultimate comfort food is super-versatile, so even the pickiest ones can find their favorites.
However, pizza is not the first thing you think of when trying to cut on calories or eat healthy, right?
But pizza doesn’t have to be just a guilty pleasure. You can enjoy a mouthwatering slice (or pie) and eat healthy, at the same time. With some small changes, you can maintain healthy body weight while munching some tasty ‘za.
Let’s start from the crust. You can get the regular white crust or make a smart swap and opt for a wholewheat crust. According to the US National Library of Medicine, whole grain consumption has been postulated to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and obesity.
Furthermore, you can make it even healthier by choosing cauliflower pizza crust, as a low carb alternative. It’s always better to order a thin instead of thick crust pizza. Thus, the thinner, the better.
When it’s time to choose a sauce for the pizza, the best choice is tomato sauce. It’s sweet and tangy and packed with beneficial lycopene, known for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing priorities.
Moreover, there are only 70 calories in a cup of canned sauce, so you can go heavy on this one.
Once you’ve chosen the right crust and sauce, it’s time to top them with some cheese, right? Since cheese can be full of fat, sodium, and calories it’s not a good idea to pile up. Instead, choose low-calorie, and low sodium cheese alternatives.
Fresh mozzarella is one of the best cheese varieties for a healthy pizza. As listed by USDA, 1 ounce of part-skim mozzarella contains 72 calories and 4.5 grams of total fat.
Moreover, you can add some flavorful ricotta to preserve the great taste and cut even more calories. It has 39.1 calories, and 2.24 grams of total fat in one ounce.
Another, surprisingly great cheese alternative is parmesan cheese. It is a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins. It is low in fat, free of carbs, and even though it is a dairy product it is lactose-free.
And this is where you get creative. With tons of healthy varieties to choose from, you can make some super-delicious combos, without sacrificing the great taste of the pizza.
Some of the best toppings, suitable for those who want to lose weight, or are on a healthy diet include:
- Mushrooms – High in protein and nutrients, and low in calories. There are only 22 calories in 100 grams of white mushrooms, and 3.1 grams of protein. Moreover, they contain 318 mg of beneficial potassium.
- Garlic – Crushed garlic on top will give an extra flavor, without many calories. One clove has 4.5 calories, but it is rich in vitamin C, B6, and manganese. It is known for boosting the immune system, reducing blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease, and more.
- Olive oil – Choosing monounsaturated fatty acids instead of polyunsaturated fats can have plenty of health benefits. The main type of fat in extra-virgin olive oil is monounsaturated fat, so it is known for its advantages. However, use it in moderation since it has a high-calorie count.
- Spinach – Dark leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and low in calories. There are 23 calories in 100 grams of spinach, and 483 mg of vitamin K (460% of the Daily Value). Furthermore, it has high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, manganese, and more.
- Kale – Speaking of dark leafy greens, kale is another superfood. One cup has 33.5 calories, and high levels of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein, and beta-carotene, which makes kale nutrient-dense.
- Chicken – Healthy and low-calorie pizza doesn’t have to be vegetarian or vegan-only. However, you should choose healthy proteins from lean meats. Grilled chicken is the best meat choice since it is full of protein, and low in calories. Win-win situation!
- Broccoli – Eat your broccoli! What may sound like a punishment when you were little, is common-sense today. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and low in calories. Furthermore, their list of health benefits is a long one: boosting immunity, improving skin health, reducing inflammation, and more.
- Peppers – It doesn’t matter if you choose bell peppers, hot chili peppers, or red peppers – they are all packed with vitamins (especially vitamin C), have a low-calorie count, and many health benefits. Did you know that there is more vitamin C in peppers than oranges?
- Olives – Add some olives to a pizza, and you get a briny, salty taste. Besides the great flavor, you get beneficial fats, high levels of vitamin E, and other powerful antioxidants.
So, whether you’re trying to cut on calories, trying to lose some weight, or simply going for healthier food options, don’t give up on pizza. Make some healthy choices and swaps and enjoy a pie. Or two!