Pizza night is a serious thing in many peoples homes, including mine! We never miss a Friday night pizza party. But when I decided it was time for me to take some drastic health measures for my digestion and cut out the gluttonous carbs, decrease the bloating dairy, and minimize the histamine, lectin, and ulcer irritating tomatoes sauce, I was in for some family retaliation no one was ready to give up their pizza nights, and I needed to find answers quickly! Was there such a thing as a healthy pizza? Thanks to Google and my determination to satisfy my kid’s need for pizza in their life, I came across a really delicious healthy pizza that everyone can enjoy in every way possible including taste and nutrition.
What's Wrong with Pizza?
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your conventional pizza probably isn’t the healthiest thing you could be consuming, especially if you are buying it from fast food pizza chains. There are a number of health-conscious issues with this infamous meal:
- It's extremely high in calories. On average, a slice of cheese pizza with a regular crust contains 272 calories. Let's see, you might eat 3 to 4 slices, right? That’s 1088 calories!
- It is made from refined flour. Never. Eat. Refined. Flour. It’s bleached. Dead. Pointless food.
- Pizza contains high levels of sodium, approximately 551 milligrams a slice
- Sure, tomato as a fruit is healthy, but tomato as a sauce is a different story as it usually contains not only high levels of sodium but sugar and preservatives, too. Some companies add 12 grams of sugar for every half cup of sauce!
- the total fat content in a slice of pizza is 10 grams, which includes four grams of saturated fats. It also contains 22 milligrams of cholesterol. Way. Too. Much.
And sadly, although conventional and fast food pizzas may satisfy your taste buds, consumption of this kind of pizza on a regular basis can lead to heart disease, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. One slice of pizza can keep the blood sugar levels elevated for six hours!
What’s Great About Pizza
Pizza might just be the most popular food on the planet! For whatever reason, the combination of bread, tomatoes, and cheese is delicious, very loved, and preferred around the world. Not every country encounters the unhealthy pizza dilemma that we do here in the US, some do make their pizza’s in healthier versions. Pizza can be turned into a healthy food option if they are made with the right ingredients and even better if they are homemade. You can limit the use of cheese, flour, and preservatives, add healthy varitions.
What initial starts as an unhealhthy meal, could be turned into a nutritious food on your table for your Friday night dinners! Here is what’s great about pizza:
- Proteins. Pizza can contain aproximately 12 grams of protein per slice. The cheese used is a compete protein with all the essential amino acids needed for muscles and tissue repair. Other common meat toppings such as pepperoni, chicken, or sausage can add more protein, but also include unhealthy amounts of fats and proteins.
- Antioxidants. The tomato sauce used in pizzas are rich in antioxidants from flavonoids, lycopene, folate, beta-carotene, vitamin C, E, and potassium. The sauce contains higher doses than tomato juice, sauce and pasate.
How To Make An Amazing and Healthy Pizza
First, make sure all your ingredients are organic. This will eliminate unnecessary preservatives, GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, artificial flavors, and bleached flours. (the list of things you don’t need in your pizza is long) Choose ingredients that are healthy. Make every bite that you eat help, not harm you. Second, opt for whole grain, flatbread or cauliflower based crusts to cut calories and add nutrients. Use plenty of herbs and veggies as topping like fresh tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions and mushrooms, basil, oregano, and arugula.
Some Pizza Tips:
- If you are sensitive to tomato sauces, opt for fresh tomatoes instead. A lighter, fresher taste.
- Drizzle some balsamic glaze over the top for an amazing and tangy taste.
- Make your own dough! Making pizzas can be a fun family event.
- Place fresh garden greens and herbs on after cooking for a different taste, flavor and look
- Look for gluten free crusts or lactose-free cheeses if your or anyone in your family is sensitive
- Get creative with the cheeses that you use! Asiago, provolone, cheddar, parmesan, gouda, goat and ricotta, just to name a few!
Once you get in the swing of things and making or buying health pizzas becomes a common thing in your household, you may want to take it up a notch and grow your own herbs for pizza garnishing. Growing mint, basil, and thyme are a super easy household plant to keep, and can even make a nice decor for your home.
Eating healthy not only tastes amazing, the health benefits reaped can add years to your life, help control diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and fatty liver disease. Before you pick up your phone to call and place your pizza order next week, hit your local grocer, pick up your ingredients, and see where your pizza creativity takes you!
Written by Angela Christu, complete healthy pizza fanatic