Make it a Healthy National Pizza Day

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Pizza is often the go-to post game celebratory meal for soccer teams. It even has its own day (February 9th, and score, it’s a Friday!). But wait, should we be celebrating a food with a questionable reputation?

Pizza is not exactly known as a healthy meal. Yet, stereotypes can lead people astray. The truth is, pizza can be a decently healthy dinner option if you follow some basic guidelines: Don’t gorge. Avoid the Meat Lovers’ option. Add a veggie topping (or a few).

A cheesy slice has a decent serving of calcium which helps maintain strong bones, and lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant found in tomatoes.

Paying attention to the crust and meat load matters. These days pizza crusts vary from uber-healthy (baked cauliflower) to compromise-able (whole wheat). Whole wheat crusts have more fiber and are digested slowly, allowing you to feel satisfied before you’ve devoured the whole pie. A ton of red meat can negate the healthy in any slice. Toppings like sausage and pepperoni double the calorie content and are full of saturated animal fat that clogs blood vessels.

The best answer to a healthy pizza option is to make your own, and it’s faster than waiting on your couch for delivery.

Fresh Eggplant Pizza

Eggplant Parmesan pizza from your local pizzeria is high in fat and sodium because the eggplant is breaded and fried, seeping up oils that add to health hazards.

Dust a cutting board with flour and roll out 14 oz of refrigerated store-bought whole wheat pizza dough.

Sprinkle a baking pan or sheet with cornmeal and spray with a baking spray.

Transfer the dough to a sizable cookie sheet.

Add marinara sauce on top and sprinkle with part skim shredded mozzarella, part skim ricotta cheese, broiled eggplant cut into slices, and plum tomatoes.

Bake at 450° F for about 10-12 minutes.

Don’t go totally cheese-less with a salad pizza.

Top your rolled out dough with sauce, grated plant based cheese, and sprinkle on oregano.

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes at 350° F.

Remove from oven and top with leafy greens, sliced avocados, cherry tomatoes, and a bell pepper.

Add crunch with crushed almonds or pistachios.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Skip the carbs with a cauliflower crust pizza.

Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor or blend until fine.

Steam these in a steamer basket or colander over boiling water, then let cool.

Combine the cauliflower with 1/2 cup of mozzarella, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon of oregano and garlic powder, salt, and 2 eggs.

Spread on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400° F.

Add veggie toppings and bake for another 10 minutes.

Personal Pan BBQ Chicken Pizza

Use a tortilla to cut down the carbs if you’re a thin crust fan.

Place a large, low fat tortilla on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 4 minutes at 400° F. Top with barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup of light cheddar cheese, slivered red onions, and grilled chicken. Add cilantro, then bake for another 2-4 minutes.

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