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6 Steps to a Healthier Pizza

Simple steps towards a healthier pizza

by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN  |  2504 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

Many of us are working towards some health goals such as weight loss, lowering cholesterol, or getting a handle on high blood pressure. There are others who are working towards living as healthy as they can to prevent some of these health problems. For some people this leads to an all or nothing approach to diet. You know, where you decide to never eat a high fat food again or swear off sugar. While some can live this sort of lifestyle, many can't. In fact, research shows this type of restricting often leads us to want the food even more, breaking down and over-eating the taboo food. This is a very common cycle that people fall into. I'm doing great or I'm not doing anything at all- truly all or nothing approach.
There is a balance that can happen and it is by far the best and simplest way to live your life. You can lose weight without dieting, and manage health issues without deprivation. It is true that many foods are higher in saturated fats, sugar, and calories than other foods, but that doesn't mean you have to omit them. People can maintain their health goals more effectively with a plan that includes moderation and balance.

Let's take pizza as an example. I have never met anyone who does not enjoy pizza and we are all well aware that pizza, with its white flour crust and melted cheese and high fat meats can add up in calories and fat fast. It can, however, be part of a healthy diet with a little balance and moderation. Here are some tips to makeover your pizza.
1). Choose a lower fat crust

How do you do this? Thin or regular crust pizzas are a better choice than pan pizzas. The pan pizzas have more fat added to the crust. This may make the crust more rich and crusty, but it also adds about 80 more calories per slice.
2). Avoid cream and oil/pesto based sauce

Using traditional tomato sauce is the best way to go. Many gourmet pizzas offer a variety of sauces now that can add up in calories and fat. Stick with a traditional tomato sauce to save those additional calories.
3). Watch out for pizza size

Have you ever noticed that your pizza slice is a different size at different restaurants? This is so important because one slice of pizza at your favorite parlor may actually be 2 servings. One medium slice pizza should be around 6 inches long. You don't have to break out the ruler, but be aware of how big your slices are.
4). Have a side dish

Traditionally, when we eat pizza that is all we eat for the entire meal. This can lead to excess calories with large portion sizes. Order a side salad with your pizza so you can eat less servings of pizza and still have a complete meal. Having a side salad instead of an extra slice of pizza saves around 100 calories.
5). Avoid the high fat toppings

About the Author

Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian, and a columnist for Work It, Mom! and the founder of Real Living Nutrition Services, an online weight loss program that empowers people to make small changes s

Read more by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN

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