Eating healthy (while very important) can sometimes be a challenge. After all, a hot, delicious pizza certainly looks more appetizing than a plate full of spinach, doesn’t it? How can you indulge in a delicious pizza and still eat a healthy meal? It’s simple: make your pizza a healthy pizza.
Check out 3 ways to make your pizza healthier:
1. Find an alternative to dough.
If you want to reduce your intake of carbohydrates, the first place to start is with the pizza dough. Here are some alternatives:
Instead of traditional pizza dough, try pita bread for the base of your pizza.
Whole wheat is a much healthier option because, unlike white bread, it is unrefined. This means that all of the powerful vitamins and minerals (like selenium and manganese) that you need are still in the bread.
Also, using pita bread brings a satisfying, grilled “crunch” to your pizza.
If you want to cut carbs entirely, try using vegetables in lieu of pizza dough. It might sound strange at first, but a vegetable-based pizza is the healthiest choice you can make.
Not sure where to start? Try some of these vegetables as dough-alternatives:
- Cauliflower: A cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is a champion for fighting cancer, strengthening the heart, and aiding brain development.
- Zucchini: Zucchini is a vitamin C powerhouse. This is a vitamin that plays a key role in the production of collagen, which strengthens the connective tissues in your skin and bones.
- Portobello mushroom: A portobello mushroom provides 15% of the daily value of potassium, an important mineral that fights the ill effects of sodium on your blood pressure.
- Grilled eggplant: Eggplants have very high levels of antioxidants which are needed to protect your cells from oxidation. (Oxidation is a chemical process in which cells become damaged and diseased.)
2. Switch up the sauce.
If you want to stick with your favorite pizza dough (it is very delicious!), there are more ways that you can make your pizza healthier.
Try out some substitutes for the traditional pizza sauce. Here are a few:
If you use hummus instead of the classic tomato sauce, you will not only make a healthy pizza, but a tasty one! A hummus base will give your pizza a flavorful, middle-eastern style.
Plus, hummus, made from chickpeas, is an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
For a spread a little bit closer to your classic tomato sauce, try pesto. Made with olive oil, pine nuts, basil, and garlic, pesto delivers both valuable nutrients and impactful flavor.
The basil in the pesto offers anti-inflammatory properties, which can help stave off heart disease. Meanwhile, the olive oil (a key component of the famed Mediterranean diet) is a healthy fat packed with antioxidants.
Looking for the most adventurous alternative to tomato sauce? Try salsa. Not only will salsa bring a new flavor to your pizza with an unexpected, spicy kick, it will also work to make your pizza healthier.
Those spicy peppers in your salsa? They are rich with vitamin A, a key player in strengthening the eyes and the immune system. And if you add a little bit of lime juice to your salsa, you’ll also take in some flavonol glycosides, an active compound with antibiotic properties and antioxidant benefits.
3. Top it off.
You might be a serious pizza lover, in which case you don’t want to mess with your favorite dough and sauce. But there’s one more easy way to make your pizza healthier: add some healthy toppings!
Try topping off your next pizza with some of these:
It’s a no-brainer that fruit is a healthy choice, right? But have you ever thought of adding nature’s candy to your pizza? Give it a try!
Fruit as a topping will create an interesting twist of sweet and salty.
And don’t just stick with the traditional pineapple. Try adding grilled peaches to your pizza for an added dose of vitamins A and C, or green pears for a punch of potassium and fiber.
Adding grilled chicken to your pizza gives you more bang for your buck. In addition to the juicy flavor, you’ll get a big boost of protein with little added fat.
Plain grilled chicken not your favorite? Try chicken sausage as a pizza topping instead.
If you’re still hung up on pepperoni as the classic, go-to pizza topping, don’t give up on making your pizza healthier just yet! In place of traditional pepperoni, try turkey pepperoni.
While adding a unique flavor to your pizza, it’s also important to note that turkey is a lean meat. This means that you’ll get plenty of protein without overdosing on saturated fat.
For a healthy pizza topping that’s neither fruit nor meat, consider using tofu. While most people run scared at the sound of tofu, it is not just for vegetarians.
Tofu is made from soybeans. It is high in protein, rich in amino acids, and effective at reducing high levels of cholesterol.
If you’re still hesitant, remember: tofu is mostly tasteless. If you sneak it onto your pizza among other toppings, you will barely notice it’s there, but will still reap all of its health benefits.
Next time you plan a pizza night with your friends, remember that there are many ways to make your favorite pizza healthier.
(And even without these added tricks, pizza is not as unhealthy as you might imagine. Check out these 5 Health Benefits of Pizza.)
So, where can you get a pizza with pesto or grilled chicken or eggplant?
You can find all of these healthy pizzas and more at Providence Coal Fired Pizza!
Contact PCFP to make a reservation or drop in at one of our three locations in Providence, North Kingstown, or Westerly.