6 Ways to Make Pizza a Whole Lot Healthier
We knew Americans loved pizza, but we didn't realize justhow muchthey loved pizza until now:Every day, 40 million people across the country eat pizza, making it a huge source of the daily calories and nutrients we take in, according to a new report from the USDA. Pizza isn't exactly junk food…but depending on how you eat it, it could probably use a nutritional upgrade. These six tips from Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., a New Jersey-based nutritionist, will help health it up:
Load Up on Toppings
…Veggie toppings, that is. Because they contain dozens of fewer calories (and usually no fat) compared to meat toppings like sausage and pepperoni, you really can't go wrong with any vegetable option. To load up your pie with the ones that pack the most nutrients, go for onions, tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli, all of which contain vitamins A and C and lots of fiber.
Say No to Stuffed Crust
That goes for deep-dish crust, cheesy crust, and pretty much any kind that isn't regular. Eating the tricked-out kinds can add up to 300 extra calories per slice. If you're a fan of thin crust, it's an extra smart choice: Each slice has 50-100 fewer calories than regular.
MORE:The 5 Best—and Worst—Pizzas
Stick to Mozzarella Cheese
Because mozzarella naturally has slightly less fat, including saturated fat, than other types of cheese, go with it over three-cheese blends, which will pack more fat and calories. It’s best if you can get your pizza with fresh mozzarella, which will be lower in sodium than the processed, pre-shredded kind. Or, if you aren't a huge cheese person anyway, go ahead and ask for light cheese or no cheese. It'll help decrease your slice's fat and sodium content.
Blot the Oil
If you've ever seen anyone doing this and wondered if it really makes a difference, you can now rest assured knowing that it does. This move can delete 50 or so oily, high-fat calories. Another option if you want to be subtler (like when you’re eating with a group): Let the oil drip off the slice before you eat it.
MORE:9 Tasty (and Healthy!) Pizza Recipes
Try a Whole-Grain Crust
More chains and pizzerias are offering this option, which gives you extra nutrients and fiber without altering the taste too much. If you're making pizza at home, give store-bought whole-grain dough a try.
Don't Eat it Too Late at Night
Pizza is a go-to post-party food, but there are big downsides to eating it within a few hours of bedtime: It can set you up for sleep problems, give you heartburn or indigestion (particularly when you lie down after consuming it), and cause major bloating the next day (thanks to the sodium). Enjoy it earlier in the day to sidestep these issues.
Video: How Domino's Makes Its Pizza
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