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Can Pizza Really Be Healthy?


Let’s face it…pizza is one of America’s favorite foods.

It’s quick, it’s convenient and it’s a staple at most get-togethers.

It is reported that the average American eats 23 pounds of pizza every year, which equates to around 46 slices!  An estimated 3 billion pizzas are sold every year in the U.S., generating $38 billion of revenues for the food industry.

Unfortunately, most of these 3 billion pizzas are loaded with sodium, fat, and health-deteriorating ingredients!

Whether it’s carry-out, delivery or a pre-packaged frozen version...

...you are most likely consuming ingredients that are doing more harm than good.

We know you are probably thinking, “but sometimes I crave a cheesy, meat-loaded deep dish…and it’s just so darn easy!”  And - we get it - cravings happen, and convenience is needed.

So, we have some fantastic news – you CAN enjoy pizza that is delicious, easy-to-prepare, affordable…and good for you!

The key?  Make your own!

 

  • Flavor-popping!  Homemade pizzas, made with REAL ingredients, provide incredible flavor and taste so much better!  Make the Thai Pizza or Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza and you just might start asking yourself “why haven't we been doing this sooner?!”
  • From health-deteriorating to health-enhancing:  those beloved popular pizza pies are not helping your health!  Despite what they say, tomato sauce does not make these a health food, and they are typically loaded with processed flours and meats, preservatives, unhealthy fats, sodium and added sugar.  For example, the Pizza Hut Meat Lover's Personal Pan Pizza contains 850 calories, 49 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, 69 g carbs and a whopping 1,950 mg sodium.  And it’s personalized, so who doesn’t eat the whole thing?!  Check out the tips below to transform your pizza from deteriorating to enhancing your health!
  • Save some money!  You are definitely paying for convenience when it comes to delivery or carry out. You can easily make a delicious large pizza at home that will serve 4 people – using REAL ingredients – for well under $8.  Why not save some money and put it towards your favorite wine or craft beer to go with your meal?!
  • Load it up!  You can load up your homemade pizza with tons of toppings...without any extra charges!  Enjoy the indulgence that can be healthy too!
  • And, of course, an added bonus:  it goes straight from the oven to your dinner table.  No lukewarm, mushy pizza with cheese glued to the box, no chance of receiving the wrong pizza and no tipping required!

 

Believe it or not, homemade pizza is easier than you think!

 

Some tips to keep in mind:

 

The Crust:

WHOLE GRAIN is key to better nutrition.  And, you have a variety of choices!  Try whole wheat pitas, prepared whole grain pizza crust, whole wheat dough (found in the freezer section), or make our whole grain Flatbread Pizza Crust.  We get our favorite whole grain pizza crust from a local producer at our local farmers’ market, and stock up and freeze them.  You can even turn whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas into a super easy pizza crust!

Plus, you can amp up the nutrition even further by using vegetables as your crust…zucchini, summer squash, eggplant and portobello mushrooms are excellent options.  You can cut a zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.  Then, spread a layer of marinara or pizza sauce on each zucchini half (creating a pizza boat) and add your favorite toppings such as red onion, kalamata olives, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sliced jalapenos or cheese.  Bake and top with fresh herbs…delicious and super-healthy!

 

The Sauce:

We used to think the only sauce you could put on pizza was the jarred pizza sauce from the store - boy, were we wrong!  There are so many options when it comes to pizza sauce…you can use pesto, hummus, guacamole or just a light coating of olive oil.  The Cajun Shrimp and Guacamole Pizza or the Mushroom Tortilla Pizza are sure to make you a believer!  Even if you want a traditional red pizza sauce, the flavor and nutrition are so much better with quality REAL ingredient toppings!

 

Veggies:

Load up your pizza with veggies of all kinds!  The sky's the limit and the possibilities are endless...the Mexican Black Bean Veggie Pizza is one of our favorites!  This is a great way to turn your pizza into an antioxidant-loaded, cancer-fighting machine!

 

Fruits:

Have you tried apple or pear slices on pizza?  What about peaches or pineapple?  Fruits can be insanely delicious on pizza…try pear or apple slices paired with sausage or fresh peaches paired with jalapeños.

 

Meat in Moderation:

Keep it minimal when it comes to adding meat to your pizza and try to avoid processed meats such as pepperoni and highly processed sausage.  See our coaching tip on Does Lunchmeat Really Cause Cancer.  When you have a variety of flavors working together, you might be surprised how amazing your pizza tastes, even with minimal or no meat.

 

Cheese:

Great tasting pizza does NOT need 2 cups of 3 different kinds of cheese on top!  Dairy in moderation is a great habit to adopt -- and you will still have great flavor, even without so much cheese.

 

Zonya’s best pizza advice?

 

Follow our three-step pizza code of conduct!

 

  1. Eat a salad first!  "Salad first" makes a reasonable number of pizza slices doable.  There are so many fantastic salads that make a great complement to a slice or two of pizza!
  2. Look for whole grain crust!  The easiest way to control the crust and make sure you are getting whole grain is to make your own; however, some restaurants even offer this upon request.
  3. Load up on plant toppings!  Research shows that trading animal foods for plant foods reduces risk for several diseases, including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.  For pizza, think mushrooms, peppers, onions, broccoli, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives!  For those that think they MUST have meat, grilled chicken is a good choice.  Ham and Canadian bacon are better choices than pepperoni, but since they are processed, are best eventually traded out for vegetables.

 

Delicious homemade pizza ideas:

 

Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza

Apple Walnut Pizza

Moroccan Spice Lamb Pizza

Carnitas Taco Pizza

Cherry Tomato Margherita Pizza

Bruschetta Pizza

Caramelized Onion, Apple and Proscuitto Pizza

Mushroom Tortilla Pizza

Bulgogi Pizza

Roasted Broccoli Pizza

 

We encourage you to celebrate pizza night each week, preparing a delicious and nutritious pizza at home – using REAL ingredients!  After a few weeks, you are likely to find that delivery no longer seems very appealing.

We would love to hear about your results…and, of course, your best pizza ideas!

 

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One Response to Can Pizza Really Be Healthy?

  1. “We get our favorite whole grain pizza crust from a local producer at our local farmers’ market, and stock up and freeze them.” Remind me to ask you who sells the crusts at the farmer’s market. I want to buy some, too. 🙂

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