Everyone loves pizza. In fact, a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that on any given day, 13 percent of Americans over the age of two consumed pizza. That number dramatically increases for children and younger adults.
However, sometimes it gets a bad rap for not being the healthiest option. What are some tips and tricks to make pizza a healthier choice? Find out below.
1. Hold the extra cheese: It can be tempting to order extra cheese on your pizza. But beware! Too much of the delectable topping could add significant calories to each bite. If you can opt for a low-fat option, that’s even better!
2. Choose lean meat: Are you used to ordering the meat lovers pizza? Consider choosing one or two lean pizza meat options like diced chicken breast, which is low in saturated fat and high in protein.
3. One slice please: Depending on the size of the pie, pizzas are typically divided into six to 12 slices. This creates a natural portion-control mechanism. Yet most of us reach for seconds (and thirds). Consider eating a salad or other healthy appetizer before opening the pizza box. This can help you feel full sooner and help you stick to the actual serving size. Can’t seem to resist? Invite over family and friends to share the delicious treat. Or grab a slice and put the box back into the fridge for another meal.
4. Load the veggies: While there may be only a handful of meat options on the pizza menu, the vegetable (and fruit!) toppings list always is endless. Yes, there can be a few less-than-desirable options, but there are still plenty of vegetables to choose from. Even if you’re not completely sold on veggies, other toppings like the cheese and tomato sauce will surely make them a bit tastier. And you never know what combinations you’ll come up with.
5. Whole grain crust: If you’re able to select a pizza base, choose a whole grain crust over the traditional (or super-stuffed) crust. Whole grains provide more protein, fiber and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium and potassium. Whole grains also contain many phytochemicals compared to refined grains.
6. Blot the oil: Notice a shiny, reflective gleam on the surface of your pizza? That’s oil, and a lot of it. Just because it’s an essential ingredient in pizza creation (and yes, it makes the crust even more scrumptious), this does not mean all of it must be consumed. Take a paper towel and blot off excess oil to save calories and reduce fat (and greasy residue).
So don’t be afraid to dig into a delicious pie! Follow these tips for a healthful treat and meal.