Last Updated on March 30, 2018

When people think of healthy food, they often don’t think of pizza. The truth is there are actually some health benefits to eating pizza. And there are plenty of topping and serving options to help it fit into your healthy lifestyle. You can even create a healthier meal by adding a salad on the side.

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Not all take-out pizza is created equal

Many people consider pizza fast food and lump it together with all the burger and fries places. However, pizza has quite a few advantages over other take-out foods and is one of the healthier choices you can make when eating out.

The number one advantage pizza has over other fast food is that it isn’t fried. Fried fast food often contains high amounts of saturated fat and trans fat, both of which are known to contribute to a large number of health problems. Most health authorities recommend limiting saturated fat and avoiding trans fats as part of a healthy lifestyle.

It’s no secret that processed food contains fewer nutrients and usually more fat and calories. Not to mention chemical additives and preservatives. Fast food chains are usually just serving stations. The food is extremely processed, made in a faraway factory weeks or months earlier and shipped to the stores. A local pizza place that makes their own sauce and dough and offers toppings such as fresh vegetables and real cheese is serving real food like you would make at home.

The nutrients in your pizza

Increasing your vegetable intake is recommended when dieting or trying to make healthier choices. Pizza undoubtedly contains more nutrient packed vegetables than most take-out choices and can help contribute to your daily requirements.

Tomatoes are the main ingredient in pizza sauce and contain lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and scientific research has found a link between lycopene and lower levels of certain cancers. Lycopene has also been found to be beneficial to the heart and blood vessels, skin, and bones. When tomatoes are cooked, as they are for pizza or pasta sauce, the lycopene levels are higher and easier for the body to absorb.

Other vegetable toppings also contain nutrients that promote better health. All vegetables contain fiber. Onions also contain chromium and vitamin C, and can help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Bell peppers contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamins C, B6, and A, which help keep cells healthy. Those vitamins also support the immune system, metabolism, digestive health and good vision. Mushrooms contain riboflavin and potassium. Both are necessary for many important functions in the body and help keep the central nervous system healthy. Olives contain vitamin E, polyphenols, flavonoids and healthy monounsaturated fat. Vitamin E helps prevent cell damage, polyphenols and flavonoids help prevent inflammation and monounsaturated fats help increase “good” cholesterol. Combined, these nutrients go a long way to protect your heart and prevent disease.

Other sources of nutrients in pizza include cheese, which contains calcium, protein and vitamin A. Another source of nutrients in pizza is the dough, which contains some antioxidants due to the chemical reactions of the yeast. Pizza dough is made from a higher protein flour than bread dough.

Creating a healthier meal by eating a salad with your pizza

Adding extra nutritional muscle to your meal is easy when you choose pizza. We have already discussed the advantages of vegetables, so opting for more than one vegetable topping can increase the nutrient content and reduce fat. You could even add pineapple too.

Vegetables are great, but many people can’t imagine a pizza without some meat. If you don’t want to skip meat entirely, there are other options. Sticking to a single meat topping with your vegetables would still satisfy your meat craving without going overboard. Choosing meat that is lower in fat, such as grilled chicken or Canadian bacon would also be a better choice.

Adding a salad to your meal can help get even more vegetables into your diet and help keep portion sizes in check. The salad can help fill you up, decreasing the likelihood that you will overindulge.

The menu at Pizza Planet offers several options for making pizza part of your healthy lifestyle. If you are located in Amarillo, Texas and would like to place an order, call us at (806) 352-6666. You can also connect with us via e-mail for more information about the pizza we offer.

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Good News: Pizza Is Actually Healthy

Pizza is one of the most universally popular foods, with one USDA report estimating that 13 percent of the U.S. population eats it on any given day. And we totally get it-it’s fast, easy, and ridiculously delicious. These three factors alone must mean it’s pretty bad for you, right? Wrong. Pizza can actually be healthy. (Case in point, these 10 healthy pizza recipes.)

Before you devour an entire pie all on your own, keep in mind that what you order (or make at home) can turn a relatively healthy meal into a simple-carb-fueled calorie bomb. First, it’s important to recognize that not all pies are created equal. “Americanized versions of pizza are typically the extra cheesy, all-meat, or super-thick-crust options, which are what usually makes it such an unhealthy choice,” says Marci Clow, M.S., R.D.N., at Rainbow Light.

When it comes to your pizza options, Clow says to order as the Italians do. Opt for a traditional thin crust with veggie toppings like peppers, spinach, mushrooms, or roasted broccoli. “Realistically, you’re not getting a huge nutritional boost from the amount of veggies in a slice or two of pizza, but every bit counts,” she says. And at the very least, you’ll be consuming fewer calories than if that pie had pepperoni, extra cheese, or sausage piled on top. If you don’t consider it pizza unless it has meat, Clow says turkey pepperoni, chicken sausage, or Canadian bacon are all healthier choices than traditional greasy pepperoni and will still satisfy your craving.

There Really Are Some Health Benefits of Pizza

If you are a pizza purist, you can totally reap some health benefits of your basic plain sauce and cheese slice. Clow says a regular slice of pizza provides close to 20 percent of the suggested daily protein intake and about 20 percent of the recommended daily calcium too. “Tomato sauce provides a great boost of vitamin C and also delivers a good source of lycopene,” says Clow. Lycopene is known to fight cancer and has also been studied for its potential role in prostate health.

Make Your Own Pizza at Home

But if you’re watching your sodium levels, you might want to try making your own healthy pizza. Maybe even try some vegan recipe options, as store-bought pizza sauce is loaded with sodium (or go for a white pie, sans sauce). Regardless, it’s pretty easy to make your own pizza-you can even grill it! Clow shares this winning formula for healthy homemade pizza: Start with a whole-grain thin crust and add low-sodium tomato-based sauce with low-fat cheese and use a heavy hand with the veggies. When you order out, make sure to specify thin crust to cut down on the carbs and calories in those deep-dish crust options.

  • By By Colleen Travers

Pizza is the best food on earth and nothing (NOTHING!) can change that — even though the stuff has long been vilified as a junk food because it’s high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

Spoiler alert: On average, a large slice of pepperoni pizza contains 311 calories, 13.5 grams of total fat (5.5 grams saturated), and 720 milligrams of sodium. And that’s just one slice, which almost never happens.

Lauren Ahn

But before you go slice-shaming yourself, you should know what pizza actually does to your system, according to registered dietitian-nutritionist Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Lauren Ahn

0 to 10 Minutes After Eating

If your mouth texted your brain, it would look something like this: 🙏 — and it would hit send before swallowing the first and best pizza bite. Sadly, the more pizza you eat, the less pleasure that pizza will provide you. (The same goes for any food.)

That’s not to say drooling over said pizza is a total waste: Salivating triggers the release of digestive enzymes in the mouth, and they get right down to the business of digestion as chewed food travels from your mouth, down your esophagus, and into the stomach. Starting with the carbs in your crust, these enzymes begin to break your food down into super simple sugars known as glucose, which your body uses to fuel movement in your muscles, keep your heart beating, and so forth. But all of that comes much later.

10 to 15 Minutes After Eating

Before the sugar can hit your bloodstream full throttle (as it’s inclined to do), the fat from the pizza’s cheese and pepperoni tap the brakes to slow the surge. Because your body typically burns through carbs in a hot sec but takes its time to digest fats, high-fat pizza toppings help you reap more sustainable energy from your slice. (Bless you, pizza!) If you’re especially sensitive to cheese or gluten, or you’ve eaten fairly quickly, you might develop belly bloating as your body continues to digest your food and release residual gases.

15 to 20 Minutes After Eating

Now that most of the carbs you’ve gobbled down are getting all up in your blood stream, your pancreas secretes the hormone insulin to help your cells sop up the sugar and put it to use as fuel. If your cells are already fully stocked (like after your third or fourth slice of pizza), they may reject the sugars, keeping your blood sugar levels higher for longer. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to inflammation, posing problems that range from cardiovascular disease to nerve damage, poor circulation, and various infections. (It’s why eating a high-sugar diet can be dangerous — and why diabetes, a disease marked by high blood sugar levels, can be deadly when left untreated.) Eventually, the sugar will end up in your liver and be turned to fat. Meanwhile, your levels of leptin, a hormone secreted by your fat cells to squelch hunger and stop you from overeating, are steadily rising.

30 Minutes After Eating

Unless you’ve grossly overeaten, which can make you feel sluggish, you should feel fueled up. With food in your stomach, your body has stopped spewing out the hunger hormone ghrelin, so “Satisfaction” is your new middle name.

At this point, the acids in your stomach are working hard to digest all the fat you’ve eaten. As soon as the fat is broken down, it’s ready to be absorbed into the bloodstream where it will hitch a ride to your liver and either be rerouted to muscles to be used for fuel, or — if your muscles have enough fuel to do their thing — converted into fat cells for safe storage.

This whole process only raises your levels of triglycerides (i.e., fat in your blood) temporarily. It’s a good thing that they don’t stay elevated forever: Persistently high triglyceride levels, which can be caused by a diet that’s high in sugar, alcohol, or unhealthy fats (looking at you, pepperoni!) — can displace your blood’s good cholesterol, ultimately clogging up and hardening your arteries. If you’re overweight or you have a family history of circulatory disease, your triglyceride levels will stay higher for longer, so eating just one slice can increase your risk of conditions like a stroke and heart attack.

If you’re pretty healthy overall, your triglycerides levels should taper off within about six hours, assuming you laid off the pie after eating just one slice. (The more fat you eat, the longer your triglycerides will remain elevated.)

45 to 60 Minutes After Eating

A fatty meal (love ya, pizza) can make it harder for your blood vessels to expand, leaving less room for blood to flow and a residual increase in blood pressure. Because a high-fat diet can also promote blood clotting, this spells danger for anyone who heads over to Pizza Hut with existing heart disease risk factors (like a parent who’s suffered through it).

The good news is that your hormones — particularly leptin, which tells your brain you’re full — have really gotten with the program, so the hunger pangs that made you order pizza in the first place have been put in their place.

Unlike calorie-counters who scrap the cheese and meat off their pizza, you shouldn’t start to feel sluggish at this point. Pepperoni and cheese provide fat and some protein to ground the body’s surge of serotonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness and tends to flow freely after you eat a meal that solely contains carbs.

3 to 4 Hours After Eating

Hours after eating, your blood sugar has come back down to normal and the food has left your stomach — which could spark your interest in that leftover slice, or dessert if you ate pizza for an early dinner. Not everything is back to normal though — your triglycerides levels are still soaring. (It’s one reason why you might want to make your next meal a salad instead of another greasy feast.) Unless it’s time to tuck in for bed, schedule a snack or meal before your hunger hormone ghrelin, which is now free-flowing, sends you straight back to the pizza box for leftovers.

Even Later

If you’re relatively healthy, indulging in a slice of pepperoni pizza every once in a while will not (repeat: will NOT) kill you. It won’t even affect your weight. In the short term, your weight will only increase by the actual weight of the pizza, according to Angelone. (Only eating excess calories over time will contribute to fat gains, she adds.)

That said, if you have unhealthy lipid levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, are overweight, or you smoke — conditions that already put your health on the line — then you’d be smart to lay off the pizza, or at least order a slice that’s veggie-heavy and light on cheese.

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Elizabeth Narins Senior fitness and health editor Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more.

Actually, Pizza Toppings Are Bad

Welcome to Actually, a safe space for us to share our deeply-held but likely-unpopular opinions about food and drinks.

If 2018 taught me anything, it’s that humans will never stop attempting to improve pizza, only to ruin it (see also: the interface of every social media platform). Sometimes, it’s the size of the slice. Other times, it’s the shape of the pie. Most of the time, it’s the ridiculous mix of toppings that would be better served on a tasting menu than on a stretched-out ball of dough. Individually, those “innovations” are mostly just annoying, harmless tactics designed to help pizzerias develop their brand identity, but the collective movement to embrace these practices in an effort to reach Peak Pizza Pleasure is ruining the cuisine for future generations. If you really want to honor the tradition of pizza and enjoy the best version money can buy, don’t be afraid to be basic and order the simplest option (which for our purposes means either a plain cheese pizza or a pizza Margherita, depending on where you’re dining.)

Like most comfort food, part of the appeal of pizza is the familiarity, which comes from sticking with what works. While what works best is, admittedly, often a matter of personal taste, I’d wager that everyone who likes pizza enjoys warm dough topped with tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella cheese. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s as good as it gets. Plain pizza is perfect. It’s what you craved as a kid, it’s the best way to tell if your pizza place is serving up quality pies, and it allows you to maximize your pizza budget (financial and caloric).

Add in toppings, and you’re not only assuming a new risk, you’re also more likely to wind up eating a bad pizza whose flaws have been masked behind flashy accoutrements. A house with a brand new roof but a cracked foundation is a terrible investment, and even the best toppings can’t fix dry dough, watery sauce, or flavorless cheese. Much like going to a new bar and ordering an old-fashioned to test the bartender’s competency, a plain pie is a barometer to find out whether or not a pizzeria knows what they’re doing. The reality is, if you don’t like a joint’s simplest pizza, the more complex pies aren’t going to be any better, even if the toppings themselves are fine or even interesting. Simply put: You shouldn’t be wasting your time chasing trendy toppings when you could be focusing on finding quality versions of those basic building blocks.

Even when pizzerias are using the kind of ingredients created by local farmers whose livelihoods depend on your purchase, a toppings-forward pie always leaves me feeling like I just paid more to eat a heavier piece of pizza that’s no more delicious nor satisfying nor memorable than plain would have been. Yes, eating a slice slathered in hot honey, or topped with fresh clams in a lemon cream sauce, or experiencing a pastrami sandwich in the form of a pizza is unique, and all those extra ingredients should cost more than a plain slice—but that’s precisely why the classic is the best bang for your buck. You get to eat pizza, leave happy, and not pay extra for forgettable toppings. Besides, every single ingredient piled on top of a pie is a diva that demands attention. They can never seem to get their shit together long enough to stay on the same slice. A great piece of pizza works best when it can be picked up, slightly folded, and devoured neatly while sitting down, standing up, or walking down a street.

As we see from the graphic above, as the novelty of toppings increases, my tolerance for their taste decreases. What this matrix doesn’t reflect is that growing up, I used to think pizzerias could do no worse than pineapple, but boy was I wrong! As chefs and pizzaiolos embrace unconventional toppings, the adverse effect has been business owners that are willing to put damn near anything on top of a pizza, regardless of whether it will taste good, in an effort to distinguish their shop and gain notoriety. Now, pizza is being transformed from the artful, self-contained meal it once was to the point where it’s just an edible plate upon which to showcase an entirely different dish. What started with an innocent piece of pepperoni has now grown into a one-upping contest where piles of pasta, buffalo chicken, and now entire hamburgers compromise not just the structural integrity of a single pie, but the whole concept of pizza itself. Like so many upsetting trends in food, this is a result of establishments trying to tap into a culture where the key currency for staying relevant is viral visuals or newsworthy gimmicks. So sure, maybe a pepperoni pie is fine, but just remember that the toppings you love begat this monstrosity:

I understand why places have to concern themselves with combinations that look pretty in photos or haven’t been done before—it’s good for business—but the real sign of a great pizzeria is that they’re able to master the classics and deliver them consistently to customers. And as a guest, I would always rather order a pizza that offers me a constant feeling of comfort than the kind that leaves me saying, “Well, at least I tried that.”

Is pineapple on pizza acceptable? Chefs weigh in

It is arguably the most divisive food-related debate: the question of whether pineapple is an appropriate pizza topping is a controversial one.

But are a few chunks of tangy pineapple on a pizza really so bad? It doesn’t seem possible considering pineapple made it to the list of 10 most popular pizza toppings. (Although it only makes the ninth spot, just ahead of spinach.)

To get to the bottom of this debate and decide on a winning side once and for all, we reached out to pizza chefs across the US for their opinions on the appropriateness of pineapple. As the gatekeepers to pizza, we felt they must have a good grasp of what constitutes an acceptable pizza topping.

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In a somewhat surprising turn of events, it seems that many pizza chefs, even the old-school Italian ones, have given in to the requests of the masses.

As it turns out, the customer is always right, as the saying goes, even when it comes irreverent requests such as pineapple on traditional pizza.

Shape Created with Sketch. 10 best oven pizzas

Show all 10 left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch. (1) PIZZA EXPRESS LIGHTER VITABELLA
Like pizza but not its often belt-busting calorie content? Pizza Express rides to the rescue with the thin-base Vitabella at half the calories of a regular pizza, eschewing spicy sausage and ham in favour of summer veg.
£4.00, sainsburys.co.uk

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10/10

Chef Anthony Carron of 800 Degrees Pizzeria is one chef who has had to put his own beliefs aside in order to make his customers happy. Carron, who is adamant that he personally would never eat pineapple on a pizza, nor would any self-respecting Italian, has had to change his stubborn attitude towards pineapple on pizza. When he first opened 800 Degrees, he “refused to carry it on principle, but it was literally the number one requested topping that we did not carry.”

Finally relenting after a few years on behalf of their great customers, Carron now allows pineapple in his pizzeria, under one condition. Refusing “to just serve garbage canned pineapple tidbits” he instead buys whole, fresh Hawaiian gold pineapples, which are then peeled and diced by hand, tossed with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, and roasted in their wood-burning ovens until they are caramelized, which actually sounds incredibly delicious.

Chef Emily, of EMILY and Emmy Squared, is also a believer in giving the people what they want. According to Emily, “People who live in hard absolutes with pizza have no fun in their lives” and everything, even pineapple, “is an acceptable pizza topping as long as it is balanced and not overpowering.”

She even indulges in the topping herself, usually with a meat or something spicy and “loves pineapple kimchi with pepperoni.”

Louis, a veteran pizza chef and NYC pizza consultant, agrees. “Pineapple is acceptable when thoughtfully applied.”

While it may seem like it is looking up for pineapple pizza lovers, there are still quite a few pizza purists who firmly refuse to offer pineapple in their pizzerias on the basis of authenticity, including the chefs at Lombardi’s NYC, the first pizza place in the United States.

So, who is right?

In a final effort to come to a conclusion, we went to Scott Weiner of Scott’s Pizza Tours, an expert on the topic of pizza, who left us with these words of pizza wisdom.

Pizza chefs stage synchronised pizza flare on Oxford Street

“To those who say pineapple isn’t an acceptable pizza topping because it’s not Italian … it existed in Italian food culture long before pepperoni ever did, but nobody complains about that. So many of the popular toppings we argue about are not Italian. Corn on pizza? Buffalo chicken on pizza? Ranch dressing on pizza? Not nearly as much noise about those, but they’re absolutely not Italian items and when they’re treated right, they taste great.

“To those who say pineapple isn’t an acceptable pizza topping because it doesn’t taste good, they probably haven’t had it done right. Raw chunks of pineapple thrown around a pizza? No way. Roasted and pulled pineapple with a honey glaze paired with a fatty pork is delicious. No need for tomato on that pineapple pizza, there’s enough acid to go around.

“I am absolutely pro-pineapple and I think about it the same way I think about most food arguments. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it.”

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This article was originally published in November 2017

Lightened-Up Homemade Vegetarian Pizza

By Anjali Shah on January 11, 2019 · Last Updated on April 25, 2019 This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure. Share This:

My husband LOVES pizza. He’s like a pizza addict. I think there have been days when he has only eaten pizza. He does not discriminate: he likes anything from frozen pizza to the most delicate hand-tossed, wood-fired pizzas in Italy. I like pizza too, don’t get me wrong, but I rarely ate it because it’s not the healthiest option and always made me feel sluggish and low energy after. I also never knew how to make a healthy homemade vegetarian pizza at home – so I’d only eat it if we went to a restaurant.

But now…

With the help of pre-made whole wheat (or even sprouted wheat) pizza dough, I have created an awesome recipe for healthy homemade pizza that is guaranteed to please even the pickiest pizza lover in your family!

Ingredients for your Healthy Homemade Vegetarian Pizza

  • Fresh whole wheat pizza dough. If you have a Trader Joes near you – they carry a great version of this dough. 1/8 of the dough (which is basically one slice of pizza) has ~110 calories and 2-3g fiber! You can also find sprouted wheat pizza dough – Angelic Bakery makes a good one and I think Trader Joes has one now too.
  • Low-sugar pizza sauce: check the ingredients and make sure there’s no added sugar! That’s where all the unnecessary calories from pizza sauce comes from.
  • 1-2 yellow, orange or red bell peppers diced
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • Baby spinach leaves (you can use up to 2 cups, chopped).
  • 1 tomato (cut into thin slices)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (you don’t have to use the whole cup – that’s the max amount we have ever used)

Here Are The Kitchen Tools We Used for This Recipe:

  • A high quality pizza pan like this one from Cuisinart. If you’re looking for a cast iron pizza pan, I love this one from Lodge.
  • A great pizza cutter like this one from Kitchy

If you are a meat lover, you can always add meat as a topping for this pizza. And you can change up the toppings however you’d like!

This recipe makes 8 servings (1 serving = 1 huge slice of pizza). It freezes really well – just defrost it by popping it into the toaster oven or regular oven for a few minutes at 400-450 degrees. It’s super kid friendly and really healthy too! For even more veggies, serve it with a side salad made with your favorite greens.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Friday night is always pizza night at our house!

0 from 0 votes

Homemade Healthy Vegetarian Pizza

Nutritional Info Per Serving (1 serving = 1 slice): 190 Calories, 4.4g Fat (1.8g Saturated), 820.7mg Sodium, 30.4g Carbs, 3.3g Fiber, 0.7g Sugar, 8.1g Protein Prep Time20 mins Cook Time15 mins Total Time35 mins Course: Main Course Cuisine: Italian Servings: 8 Calories: 190kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Fresh Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Like from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 10oz container Pizza Sauce
  • 1-2 yellow, orange or red bell peppers diced
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves chopped
  • 1 tomato cut into thin slices
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Lightly spray a pizza pan with cooking spray – use as the base to spread out the dough. One tip for spreading out the dough – don’t try to use a rolling pin if you’re using the Trader Joes dough! Use your hands (sprinkle flour on the dough and on your hands), knead it, and then spread it with the palms of your hands.
  • Once the dough is spread out, top with pizza sauce
  • Sprinkle garlic, red pepper, onion and tomato slices over the sauce
  • Top with grated Parmesan and spinach leaves
  • Bake in the oven for 10-12 min until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling/slightly golden

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal

The people who eat pizza every day

If it is made at home, without all the preservatives and industrialised ingredients high in fat and salt, the pizza can be a good source of nutrients as long as it is not eaten at night.

However, 44% of children and 59% of adults that eat pizza in the US do it at dinnertime.

“The latest research on body biorythm and circadian rhythm suggests that eating food high in carbs and saturated fat at night leads to an increase in body fat,” explains Bravo.

This means that in the long term these nutrients could be contributing to obesity.

“Also, a heavy meal for dinner (such as pizza) could be the cause of a sluggish digestion and sleep problems,” Dr Bravo adds.

Therefore, it is not the same having pizza at lunchtime, and having pizza at night.

But, how can you make the best of the fact that millions of Americans eat pizza?

“Firstly, do not eat it at night”, answers Bravo. “Secondly, use ingredients low in fat.” And make it yourself.

Russolillo adds that the message should be: “If you want to eat pizza, do it with caution and moderation.”

Eating Out & Special Meals: Healthy Eating on the Go: Pizza

There’s no argument that pizza is a popular dish in America, however, many people see it as the “forbidden food,” laden with so much saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium they don’t see how there could be any way it can fit into a heart-healthy diet. Others see it as a great food, complete with almost all their favorite food groups: they rationalize that the crust fits in the bread group, the cheese in the dairy group, h am or sausage in the meat group, and pizza sauce in the vegetable group. Even tack on some pineapple slices and you’ve added your fruit group! This is “healthy,” isn’t it? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Let’s first look at why pizza has gotten such a bad reputation over the years, then delve into how you can choose healthful pizzas when dining out, or better yet, make healthful and tasty pizzas on your own.

Why the Bad Reputation?

While it’s true that a lot of pizza ingredients like tomatoes, onions, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and crust can fit into a heart-healthy diet, others ingredients fall far from the “healthy foods” list including pepperoni, extra cheese, sausage or Alfredo sauce. Even these high-saturated-fat, high-sodium foods can fit into a healthy diet when eaten in moderation. The only problem is that “moderation” is not in the vocabulary of most pizza makers. After the extra cheese, cheese-stuffed crust, extra thick and crispy crust, “meat-lovers” portion of sausage, ham, pepperoni and bacon are tacked on, you’ve packed a whole week’s worth of your allotted saturated fat! And that’s only in a two-slice or 8-ounce serving.

We’ve listed a few of your favorite pizza brands below. Take a look and see how much saturated fat, total fat and sodium are contained in a single serving (something most of us exceed).

Note: Nutritional data derived from individual company information or from ESHA food analysis software program. Most serving sizes are based on a 12″ medium-sized pizza unless stated otherwise.

  • Pizza Hut Personal Pan Supreme
    • Serving size:11 ounces or 3 slices
    • Total calories:722
    • Total fat (in grams): 34
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 12
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,760
  • Pizza Hut Meat Lovers Pan Pizza
    • Serving size:9 ounces of 2 slices
    • Total calories:680
    • Total fat (in grams):36
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 14
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,676
  • Pizza Hut Veggie Lovers Pan Pizza
    • Serving size: 9 ounces or 2 slices
    • Total calories:486
    • Total fat (in grams): 20
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 6
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,024
  • Pizza Hut Thin and Crispy Ham
    • Serving size: 8 ounces or 3 slices
    • Total calories:552
    • Total fat (in grams): 21
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 9
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,773
  • Pizza Hut Hand Tossed Italian Sausage
    • Serving size: 8 ounces or 2 slices
    • Total calories:540
    • Total fat (in grams): 22
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 10
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,474
  • Domino’s Hand Tossed Cheese Pizza
    • Serving size: 8 ounces or 3 slices
    • Total calories:516
    • Total fat (in grams): 14
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 6
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,470
  • Domino’s Deep Dish Veggie Pizza
    • Serving size: 8 ounces or 2 slices
    • Total calories:576
    • Total fat (in grams):25
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 9
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,232
  • Domino’s Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza
    • Serving size: 8 ounces or 2 slices
    • Total calories:780
    • Total fat (in grams): 37
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 15
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,940
  • Papa John’s Original Crust Cheese
    • Serving size: 8 ounces or 2 slices
    • Total calories:560
    • Total fat (in grams): 20
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 9
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,440
  • Papa John’s Thin Crust Pepperoni
    • Serving size: 9 ounces or 3 slices
    • Total calories:800
    • Total fat (in grams): 48
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 15
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,860
  • Stouffer’s French Bread Sausage, Pepperoni, and Mushroom
    • Serving size: 12 ounces or 1 french bread pizza
    • Total calories:857
    • Total fat (in grams): 41
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 12
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,680
  • Tombstone Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza
    • Serving size: 1/2 pizza or 6 ounces
    • Total calories:476
    • Total fat (in grams): 26
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 9
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,092
  • Tombstone Extra Cheese Pizza
    • Serving size: 2 slices or 10 ounces
    • Total calories:740
    • Total fat (in grams): 34
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 18
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,360
  • Tony’s Pepperoni Pizza with Italian Crust
    • Serving size: 1/2 of pizza or 7 ounces
    • Total calories:615
    • Total fat (in grams): 34
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 12
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 1,265
  • Healthy Choice French Bread Vegetable Pizza
    • Serving size: 1 pizza or 6 ounces
    • Total calories:280
    • Total fat (in grams): 4
    • Saturated fat (in grams): 1
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 480
  • Lean Cuisine French Bread Deluxe Pizza
    • Serving size: 1 pizza or 6 ounces
    • Total calories:330
    • Total fat (in grams): 6
    • Saturated fat (in grams):2.5
    • Sodium (in milligrams): 560

Now, take into consideration the following nutrition guidelines for the WHOLE DAY for the following calorie levels:

If you were following a 1,600-calorie diet and decided to have two slices of Pizza Hut’s Meat Lovers pizza, you’d consume:

  • 43% of your total daily calorie needs
  • 65% of your total fat allowance
  • 116% of your saturated fat allowance (the most artery-clogging fat around!)
  • 70% of your daily sodium allowance

And that’s only in two slices! Most of us consume more than two slices, putting us even further into “fat-debt.” Now, let’s just say you choose the Pizza Hut Veggie Lovers pizza:

  • 30% of total daily calorie needs
  • 36% of total fat allowance
  • 50% of saturated fat allowance
  • 43% of daily sodium allowance

This option, of course, would be much better than the Meat Lovers pizza, yet it shows how fast you add up your daily fat, calorie and sodium allowance.

How Can I Cut Back and Still Enjoy Pizza?

Most of the pizza choices that contain the highest level of saturated fat and sodium are the ones that contain processed meats like pepperoni, sausage, bacon or extra cheese. Pizzas containing plain cheese, vegetables or ham slices generally contain less total and saturated fat, however, this doesn’t always mean the sodium will be lower (e.g. Pizza Hut’s Thin and Crispy Ham Pizza has 1,773 mg sodium for 3 slices).

How can you cut back on the amount of sodium and artery-clogging fat from the pizza you buy? Here are a few strategies to follow when ordering pizza:

  1. Ask for half the cheese. Forget doubling the cheese, cut it down in half! This means you’ll get half of the total fat, saturated fat, calories and sodium. And don’t worry, there will still be PLENTY of cheese left on the pizza.
  2. Order no cheese. You can order a cheese-less vegetable or chicken pizza with a dash of olive oil or even a little Parmesan cheese. It’s a great way to cut the fat, calories and sodium and you won’t believe how tasty these pizzas are.
  3. Eliminate the meats. Even if you have good cholesterol, processed meats like pepperoni and sausage offer little to no nutritional value and lots of fat, calories and sodium. If you must have meat on your pizza, choose one and avoid the multiple meat topping choices. The lowest fat and calorie meat options are grilled chicken, Canadian bacon or ham.
  4. Order veggies – and lots of them! But be cautious, many pizza-makers add more cheese to their vegetable pizzas, so ask before you order. Ask for a variety of colorful vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, onions, green, yellow and red peppers, hot peppers or fresh tomato slices. They’re not only low in calories, fat, and sodium – they taste great on pizza.
  5. Order a side salad or cooked vegetables to boost the nutritional value of your meal and also helps with weight control because vegetables make you feel fuller faster. But be cautious, many a pizza-maker can wreak havoc on a healthy salad too. Avoid croutons, bacon bits, pepperoni slices, cheese and creamy or regular salad dressings. Choose dressings on the side as well. If you don’t want to order a salad, and you’re eating your pizza at home, heat up some green beans, cauliflower, carrots or broccoli to enjoy with your meal.
  6. Avoid the “extras” such as garlic butter or ranch dipping sauces, complimentary wings or breadsticks, or fried Jalapeno poppers. These are all extremely high in calories, saturated fat and sodium.

How Can I Make Healthy Pizzas at Home?

Making your own healthy pizza at home can be a cinch. You can control what goes on your pizza and it also saves you money in the long run. Many people don’t want to make their own pizzas because of the time involved. However, there are an array of ready-to-bake crusts available, pre-cut vegetables, reduced sodium sauces and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheeses that you can use to prepare a pizza in no time at all. And the best part: there’s no tip involved!

Below are some ideas to make quick and healthy pizzas at home:

  • Buy ready-to-bake, whole wheat crusts are usually found in the produce or freezer section of the grocery store or at your local bakery. Buy the bleached or enriched flour varieties only if no other options are available (such as Rhode’s frozen pizza dough).
  • Make a mini pizza using a whole wheat pita or lawash bread instead of regular pizza dough.
  • Create your own reduced sodium pizza sauce using fresh basil, oregano, crushed black pepper, minced garlic, fresh tomatoes or cans of reduced sodium tomato paste, puree or sauce. Make a few batches and freeze in individual containers for future pizzas.
  • Use leftover meats like grilled chicken breast or shrimp for quick pizza toppers.
  • Top your pizza with something different like curried chicken, barbecued tofu, clams, scallops or even dried beans or lentils. You never know how it will taste until you try.
  • Use fresh herbs like basil from your garden to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Use pre-cut veggies or fruit like broccoli, peppers, onions, olives or pineapples.
  • Purchase part-skim mozzarella, low-fat or nonfat cheeses or even a soy or rice-based cheese alternative to top on your pizza to reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • To cut the fat further, add grated Parmesan cheese instead of mozzarella.
  • For a low-fat white pizza, use nonfat ricotta cheese or a low-fat bottled Alfredo sauce.

The varieties of toppings are virtually endless and are only limited to what you don’t try. Whether you prepare the pizza ahead of time or buy the ingredients ready-to-eat; enjoy the wonderful flavors your own homemade pizzas offer, and reap the added benefit of knowing you’re feeding your heart well!

  • Quick and easy English Muffin Pizza

For more information on a heart-healthy diet plan, please contact the Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation Program at 216.444.9353 (or toll-free at 800.223.2273, extension 49353) and we can schedule a nutrition consultation.

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Pizza is Healthy for You, and Here’s Why

Pizza, one of the world’s most popular foods, is loved by individuals all over. In America alone, approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold in a year! That is A LOT of pizza!

In addition to the popularity of the food and its flavor, pizza has many positive benefits that can help keep you healthy. Here are some of the incredible health benefits that eating pizza can provide for you.

Pizza Is Not a Fried Food

Pizza is a relatively simple and fast food to cook; however, it is a much healthier option than other fast foods that are available. This is due in large part to the fact that, unlike many other fast food options, a pizza is not fried, it is baked.

Fried food (which is typically processed) can be unhealthy for the human body. Fried food can lead to problems such as weight gain, increased blood pressure, developing diabetes, and increasing your risk for heart disease. Pizza, on the other hand, can protect your heart because of the nutrients that it provides.

Healthy Ingredients

One nutrient that has been shown to have heart healthy benefits is lycopene. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, which is one of the main ingredients in most pizzas. What’s more, lycopene levels are higher when a tomato is cooked (such as to create pizza sauce), and this can be beneficial for your body. (Lycopene has also been linked to fighting cancer, as well as providing health benefits for bones and skin.)

Make Your Own Pizza or Purchase Pizzas with Fresh Ingredients

A massive advantage to cooking a pizza is that you can quickly cook a nutritious meal by adding healthy toppings. By adding vegetables, for example, you’ll be providing your body with vitamins and essential nutrients to help keep your body strong and healthy. (Even the cheese on the pizza can provide nutrients like calcium and protein!)

It’s important to keep in mind that whether you’re making your own pizza or you’re eating out, fresh ingredients will be the main reason why your meal will (or will not) be healthy. Be sure that you know what you’re ordering and that you trust that the ingredients you’re eating are healthy.

For example, if you’re baking your own pizza, consider adding healthy sauces made by the private label blending company in Denver, Colorado. Trustworthy companies will produce healthy sauces for pizza, and you can be confident that you’ll be consuming fresh ingredients.

Go Ahead and Eat the Crust!

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that eating the crust of the pizza can also be quite beneficial due to antioxidants that are in the dough of the pie!

Bon appétit, friends!

15 Reasons Why Pizza Is Actually Really F*cking Good For You

When it comes to the world of culinary achievements, pizza takes the cake or, in this case, the pie, every time. Pizza is probably one of the only foods that holds a special place in pretty much everyone’s hungry hearts.

But then again, what’s not to love about these divinely delicious triangles?

Pizza is the epitome of a perfect snack. It combines a crispy crust that’s drenched in savory sauce and concealed underneath a mountain of melty, gooey mozzarella cheese.

And that’s not even considering the endless array of toppings you can layer on to craft the ultimate heaven-sent snack.

Deliciousness aside, pizza is also relatively healthy, not to mention one of the most convenient meals on the face of the planet. It’s quick, inexpensive and available at the wee hours of the night.

Plus, you can even get someone to bring it right to your doorstep so you don’t have to interrupt your six-hour Netflix marathon or actually have to put on pants and venture out into public when hunger calls.

It really doesn’t get much better than that.

If people tell you they don’t like pizza, you should probably consider cutting them out of your friend circle. Seriously. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

If you weren’t already on a strict dollar slice regimen, here are a few more reasons you should consider adding a couple slices to your life.

1. Pizza can help fight cancer

It might seem hard to believe, incorporating a few slices into your diet on the reg can actually protect you from certain types of cancers.

Studies have found that bi-weekly pizza eaters were 59 percent less likely to develop cancer of the esophagus, 34 percent less likely to develop throat cancer and cut their chances of getting colon cancer by 26 percent.

2. It’s the perfect drunk food

Pizza is pretty much the holy grail of heavenly foods that will satisfy your drunchies after a long night of drinking.

All that dough will help soak up some alcohol. Plus, it’s quick, cheap and portable so you can grab a slice and eat it on your way home after the bar.

3. Pizza helps your body absorb more lycopene

It’s no secret that tomatoes contain lots of lycopene, an antioxidant compound that helps prevent heart disease and illnesses.

But eating lycopene-packed foods that also have small amounts of fat, like pizza, will make your body absorb this antioxidant much better. So, bring on the extra cheese.

4. Pizza will never judge you

Pizza has seen you at your absolute worst and never throws any shade.

Whether it has witnessed you drunkenly demolish five slices after coming home from the bar or soaked up your tears as you binge ate your way through a breakup, this delicious snack has always had your back.

5. It’s a quick meal that’s way better for you than other fast foods

Let’s face it, when it comes to fast food, chowing down on a slice of pizza will make you feel a lot less guilty than demolishing a Big Mac and fries.

6. Eating pizza can save you some serious dough

Not only is pizza downright delicious, but it’s affordable. If you live in New York City, you know that no matter where you are, you’re never too far from a place that dishes out dollar slices.

7. There’s a slice to suit everyone

Whether you prefer your slices plain, piled high with pepperoni or decked out in boatload of buffalo chicken and bacon-ranch, the possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to dressing up your pie in something that suits your taste.

Most places even have special pies that are gluten-free.

8. Pizza doesn’t mind staying up late and losing out on some beauty rest

While most foods hit the sack around midnight, pizza doesn’t mind staying up late.

Whether you find yourself seriously hangry while pulling an all-nighter in the library or on a quest for food as you stumble home from the bars, pizza is always there to solve the struggles of needing a scrumptious late-night snack.

Plus, pizza always looks breathtakingly beautiful, despite the fact that it skips out on its beauty rest.

9. Pizza is packed with protein

Thanks to all of that melty, mouth-watering cheese, a single slice of pizza contains about 15 grams of protein, which not only gives you energy, but also helps your body repair cells and build big strong muscles.

So if you’re hitting the gym hard, a few slices make the perfect cheat meal.

10. Pizza doesn’t care how lazy you are

Pizza is probably the best thing that ever happened to lazy people. You don’t even have to leave your home to get your hands on one big, badass pie.

Thanks to all those dedicated delivery boys, all you have to do is call up or go online and, within no time, there’s a piping hot delicious pizza waiting at your door.

11. You can eat pizza for any meal of the day

You can get creative with your ingredients and tailor your pie to fit any meal in a way that goes way beyond cold pizza for breakfast.

Just throw a few fried eggs on your pie and you’ve got a tasty pizza to start off your morning. Looking for something sweet?

Slather that dough in Nutella and you’ve got a delicious dessert pizza at your fingertips. Simple.

12. Pizza can make eating your veggies a lot easier

Loading up your pie with some veggies, is a great way to up your intake of essential vitamins.

Plus, if you’re not really into eating your greens, pizza pretty much acts as a delicious disguises for those unsightly vegetables and let’s face it, broccoli looks a lot more appealing when it’s blanketed in the trio of melty cheese, sauce and crust.

13. Deep dish pizza is loaded with antioxidants

While there may be an age-old debate over thin crust and deep dish, researchers found that Chicago style pizzas have more illness fighting antioxidants because of their crust size, longer baking time and higher oven temps. So go ahead and demolish those deep dish slices.

14. Pizza knows how to dress for any occasion

Pizza is one of those few foods that can be adapted to fit any occasion.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can opt for the foodie-approved side of the pizza spectrum by dressing it up in some delicious artisan toppings and serving it in a trendy restaurant.

Or if you’re looking to take the more ratchet route, you can just grab a dollar slice and grab a seat on the sidewalk curb. Either way, it’s always effing delicious.

15. Pizza has always been your BFF

From pizza Fridays in your elementary school cafeteria to late-night get-togethers during your college days, pizza has always been there for you whenever you needed a delicious friend.

Plus, it’s loyalty is unmatched. You can be sure pizza will never spread rumors about you, steal your boyfriend or tag you in hideous pictures on Facebook.

As the saying goes, people disappoint, but pizza is eternal.

Is Pizza Healthy? A Registered Dietitian Reveals the Truth About Your Favorite Food

Pizza often doesn’t come to mind when you think of healthy foods. Why? With quick-service restaurants and sit-down restaurants alike serving pizzas doused in crumbles of sausage, slices of pepperoni, and extra layers of cheese, it’s no wonder why the Italian dish gets a bad reputation. Would a thin crust pizza with fine slices of prosciutto, spinach, and caramelized onions sprinkled with feta and oregano fall under that same category? How about a pizza crust that’s made predominantly from almond flour?

Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE lends insight on what components make a pizza healthy and which ones don’t.

Generally speaking, is pizza is a healthy meal option?

“Pizza can absolutely serve as a healthy meal option and fit into a healthy lifestyle, even into a weight loss plan,” says Walsh. “It all comes down to the type of pizza and portion sizes as well as what your individual nutrition goals are.”

Remember, pizza offers a dose of all of the macronutrients—the crust contains carbohydrates while the cheese provides both fat and protein. Now if you eat three slices of a meat-heavy pie, that’s where the problem arises. Too much of either macronutrient will ultimately store as excess fat if not burned off through adequate exercise. Of course, the quality of ingredients used is also a factor. It’s best if you make the pizza at home, that way no added oils or teaspoons of salt are added into the mix.

How can you make a healthy pizza at home? What toppings should you put on it?

There isn’t just one answer.

“To cut back on calories from excess carbohydrates, you can elect to make a thin-crust pizza. You still get the same overall experience of eating pizza, there’s just less bread fewer calories and carbohydrates,” says Walsh.

Regardless of whether the crust is thin or thick, portion control should still be followed and Walsh offers a few ways you can add more nutrients to your meal.

RELATED: The 7-day diet that melts your belly fat fast.

“A great way to control your portion while still creating a full meal during a pizza night is to serve the pizza with a side salad or some non-starchy veggies like asparagus, green beans, zucchini or spinach to balance out the carbs in the pizza,” she says. “As far as cheese goes, some prefer to use full-fat cheese and put less on their pizza, while others like a pizza loaded with cheese. For them, it might make sense to use a reduced-fat cheese product to cut back on overall calories.”

Using less of a full-fat cheese will keep you fuller longer, so consider that as you peruse the grocery store or farmers market. Other healthful toppings include antibiotic-free, free-range chicken as well as vegetables including bell pepper, onion, and even mushrooms. As for the crust, you’ve got a few options.

“Flatout flatbreads are a popular product for making a personal pizza at home and tortillas can also make for a convenient thin crust pizza,” says Walsh. “Companies like Outer Aisle Gourmet also make great ready-made cauliflower crusts.”

Is cauliflower crust more nutritious than flour-based pizza crust?

“Cauliflower crust is all the rage for good reason—it’s typically low in carbs and is a great substitute for real wheat flour crust,” she says. “Many following a low carb or keto diet choose to go this route. In terms of carbs and calories, you will save a significant amount compared to a wheat flour version, however, in terms of nutrition, the wheat flour version will have more fiber and is also usually fortified with iron.”

Of course, some companies pack extra starch into their cauliflower crusts, which increases the carb content. Make sure to read the label before purchasing if you’re following a low-carb diet. Cali’flour Foods plain cauliflower crust is a smart choice because it only includes three ingredients: fresh cauliflower, mozzarella, and egg whites. Not to mention, one serving only costs you 90 calories and 2 grams of carbs.

So yes, pizza can be a healthy meal, it just depends on what ingredients you use and how much of it you consume in one sitting. Moderation and balance are always the key!

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What’s not to love about this Italian export? Other foods, you eat. Pizza, you experience. Devouring a slice is a process that involves all the senses: the aroma coming from the oven, the sight of the molten cheese, the feel of the cornmeal-dusted crust in your hands, the sound of the crunch as you bite into it. And, of course, the taste-that unparalleled combo of dough, sauce, herbs, and cheese. Here are some facts about Pizza.

But Can it be good for you?
Pizza may often be classified as junk food, but it doesn’t have to be. The basic ingredients of pizza all have healthy potential. It’s only when you go overboard on toppings or the amount you eat that pizza earns its bad rap. To keep a pizza lean, all you’ve got to do is keep it simple:

Order the whole-grain crust.
Whole grains are high in fiber, which helps you feel fuller-and thereby limits or prevents overeating. It also keeps your digestive system running smoothly and may reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. Opt for a thin crust, as well-even if it’s made with whole grains, a thicker crust boosts your slice’s total calorie count.

Load up on sauce.
Known for its ability to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, tomato sauce is also an excellent source of vitamin C. Ask for extra sauce on your pizza, or even some on the side to dip your crust into.

Don’t OD on cheese. Yes, cheese is all kinds of creamy goodness, and we’d never tell you to eat your pizza without it. However, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to order a pizza with cheese stuffed into every possible nook and cranny. Stick with a single layer of cheese on top of the pizza, though, and it can actually be good for you. That’s because getting a bit of extra calcium every day may actually help keep you lean. According to a study in the journal Obesity Research, men and women who cut calories but added dairy foods high in calcium to their diet lost 70% more weight over 24 months than people who only dieted.

Order smarter toppings.
Pepperoni may be the most popular pick, but it’s certainly not the healthiest. If you’re craving meat, try turkey pepperoni or Canadian bacon. Or, for an even better option, have your meat of choice added to the top of a veggie pizza. Realistically, you won’t be getting a ton of vegetables on top of two slices, but every little bit helps, and it’s certainly a wiser alternative to sausage and extra cheese.

Always get a side.
Before you dig into any pizza, dive into a side salad full of as many colors as you can cram into the bowl: dark, leafy greens such as spinach; red, yellow, or orange peppers; yellow chickpeas. Top it with a lean dressing, and you’ve got a dish that will not only boost the nutritional value of any meal but also help you feel fuller-meaning you may just be able to resist that extra slice.

Throw on an Apron
Whether you’re just bored with Pizza Hut or Domino’s or are looking for a leaner, more guilt-free option, you may want to consider making your own pie. It’s easier than it sounds (check out out D.I.Y Pizza Recipe).

Plan ahead.
Make the dough the day before you need it. Or buy a ball of premade dough from a local shop.

Turn up the heat.
Crank your oven as high as it will go. It won’t come close to the 800 degrees of a commercial pizza oven, but maxing out your oven’s temp will maximize your crust’s crunchiness.

Use a pizza stone.
Pizzerias bake their pies directly on the oven rack, but for home ovens, a pizza stone is the best way to let heat radiate into the dough. You can get one starting around $10.

See Also:
D.I.Y Pizza Recipe
The History of Pizza

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