How to Make a Healthy Pizza
Get Creative with Pizza Crust
Who says crust has to be made of pizza dough? Build your pizza on a whole grain pita half, flatbread, tortilla, English muffin half, or other nutritious, low-calorie grain, suggests Bethany Thayer, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Make a Healthier Pizza Dough
"The crust is a great opportunity to get some whole grains into your diet," Thayer says. Substitute whole wheat flour for one-third to half the amount of all-purpose flour called for in your pizza dough recipe.
Be Pizza-Sauce Savvy
"Simple low-sodium tomato sauce instead of pizza sauce is healthier because it's lower in sugar and sodium," says Jessica Crandall, RD, CDE, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can add fresh herbs for more dynamic flavor.
Add Flavor, Not Salt
Use lots of herbs -- such as basil, oregano, and thyme -- and spices in the pizza sauce, as toppings, or in the pizza dough to boost flavor without adding sodium.
Sprinkle with Chia Seeds or Flaxseeds
Add unexpected nutrition to pizza by sprinkling it with chia seeds or flaxseeds. Pizza recipes usually lack in fiber and protein, so flaxseeds or chia seeds, which are high in those nutrients, are a great addition, Crandall says.
Pile Veggies High
"Double up on your veggies instead of meats," Crandall says. Roasted beets, arugula, kale, broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, zucchini, carrots -- anything goes! Grilled veggies in particular add loads of flavor to pizza while providing nutrition.
Toss Vegetables in Vinegar
Many pizza recipes and pizzas ordered at restaurants are topped with vegetables that have been tossed in oil, which adds unnecessary fat and calories. Instead, toss veggies in vinegar before roasting or grilling, then add them to your pizza for bold flavor without the fat, recommends Crandall.
Choose Low-Fat Cheese
Use low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses to top your healthy pizza, and be mindful of how much you're adding. "You can tremendously cut the saturated fat as well as the calories by cutting back on the cheese," Crandall says. Think of cheese more like a garnish, she suggests.
Shredded Pizza Cheese: Get a Creamier Melt
Save money and get a creamier cheese melt when you skip the store-bought shredded cheese and shred your own using these tips.
Use Bold Cheeses
Top your pizza with bold-flavor cheeses such as blue cheese, goat cheese, or Parmesan. The stronger the flavor, the smaller the amount needed.
Use Lean Protein Sources
"Instead of fatty meats like pepperoni and bacon, try chicken, Canadian bacon, or seafood," Thayer says. Swap turkey bacon and turkey sausage in place of full-fat pork versions for meaty flavor without all the fat.
Make a Healthy Pizza Recipe Tonight!
Start putting these tips to work tonight with our healthy pizza recipes.