How to make pizza healthier - in a stealthy way

KUSA - I can't think of many other foods with more fanatics than pizza. In fact, the average American eats 46 slices a year according to statistics.  

But with New Year's resolutions rolling in, it's tough to fit this favorite food into your health and wellness goals. Luckily, I have some tricks up my sleeve to making pizza a healthier part of your resolutions.

  1. Thin crust is a must.  Choosing thin crust vs deep dish or hand tossed can save you over 100 calories per slice. When looking at Domino's pizza, for example, ordering their America's Favorite classic hand-tossed pizza will cost you 350 calories per slice. This same flavor of the ultimate deep dish pizza will cost you 400 calories per slice. This same flavor again in crunchy thin crust will cost you only 280 calories.
  2. Ask for half cheese. Seriously. You won't know its missing. You can cut saturated fat by up to 50 percent by doing this. Even if you decide to add a small amount of parmesan to make up for the taste, parmesan is only 22 calories per tablespoon.
  3. Load it with veggies. You can cut over 80 calories per slice just by ditching the high fat meats and replacing them with veggies. This will also increase the fiber in your pizza, which will help keep you full for longer.
  4. Blot the grease. OK, so it's kind of gross and may not be appropriate in all situations, but you can soak up about a teaspoon of oil by doing this, which can save you 40 calories per teaspoon. Just take your napkin and bot away to soak up with excess grease which sits on top of the cheese when your pizza is hot.
  5. Try a crust alternative such as cauliflower pizza crust. This will increase the fiber and decrease the calories in your crust. Even better than that, half of this pizza is only 270 calories and 11 gm of fat. That's less than just one slice of your typical pizza.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 5 cups frozen cauliflower, steamed
  • 1/4 cup egg whites 
  • 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning 
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper 
  • 1/8 tsp. salt 

Topping 

  • 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes 
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning 
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until reduced to the consistency of breadcrumbs. 
  • Transfer cauliflower to a fine-mesh strainer or clean dish towel and thoroughly drain. 
  • Add remaining crust ingredients to cauliflower in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. 
  • To form the crusts, evenly divide cauliflower mixture into two circles on the parchment-lined baking sheet, each about 1/4-inch thick and 7 inches in diameter. 
  • Bake until the tops have browned, about 35 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Mix well. 
  • Spread seasoned tomatoes over each crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with cheese and basil. 
  • Bake until cheese has melted and crust is crispy, five to seven minutes. 

Makes two servings

Resources used for this article:  

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/cutting_calories.html
http://www.statisticbrain.com/pizza-statistics/
https://www.dominos.com/en/pages/content/nutritional/cal-o-meter.jsp
http://www.hungry-girl.com/recipe-makeovers/show/healthy-cauliflower-crust-pizza-recipe

Lauren Ott, RD is a registered dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.  Follow her Facebook page and Instagram @thedessertdietitian for nutrition tips!

(© 2015 KUSA)


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