Pizza is undoubtedly one of American’s favorite foods and has even been referenced as its own food group. According to a 2012 report conducted by Packaged Facts entitled The Pizza Market in the US: Foodservice and Retail, 97% of the US population eats pizza annually. There is nothing forbidden about pizza. As a dietitian, I believe pizza can actually serve as a canvas for a well-rounded MyPlate meal, containing grains, low-fat dairy, protein and vegetables all in one dish. Follow my simple tips to slice up a healthier pizza at home.
Start with a smart crust
Store-bought prebaked crusts can serve as a quick start to a weekend meal. Choose a whole-wheat thin crust over others to save 60 calories per slice and boost fiber for heart health. Flatbreads, like whole-wheat naan or pita are also good options.
Choose heart healthy toppings
Select low-fat cheeses like part-skim mozzarella and ricotta for a lower calorie, reduced-fat pizza pie. Watch out for sausage and pepperoni, which are high in saturated fat and sodium. Instead opt for Canadian bacon, chicken sausage or ground turkey if you’re craving meat. Pile on vegetables such as chopped peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, tomatoes and added vitamins and minerals with minimal calories.
Slice up a perfect portion
Instead of filling your plate with three or four slices of pizza, remember the MyPlate guidelines, and fill half of your plate with vegetables. Try adding a green salad or sliced fresh fruit for a picture-perfect accompaniment to pizza.
Get your pizza fix with nutrient rich Three-Cheese Tomato-Basil Pizza.
Jessica Cox is a Registered Dietitian and chef with a passion for teaching people to eat healthy for a happy and delicious life. Jessica is the Culinary Nutritionist at eMeals, a meal planning service based in Birmingham, AL. Her writing and recipes have been featured on a variety of websites, including Kids Eat Right, and in several Oxmoor House cookbooks. Visit Jessica’s website at jessicacoxrd.com!