7 Tips for Building a Healthier Pizza

Patient Expert
View as:|
1 of 8

If you consider yourself health-conscious, you likely watch what you eat and try to get plenty of exercise and sufficient sleep. Every once in a while, though, we get the urge to splurge on our favorite foods and drinks, even if they're not the best for our health. But who says food can't be good and good for you? Here are top tips for taking one of America's favorite foods--pizza--and removing the guilt.

Reduce the cheese

The gooey, melted cheese is one of the best parts of eating pizza. However, consuming too much of this treat adds saturated fat and sodium to your diet, both of which can be harmful  to your long-term health. A healthier choice would be to use less cheese or try lower-fat cheeses such as part-skim mozzarella.

Use whole wheat flour

This may mean that you have to create your own pizza crust, but it will be worth it. Unlike all-purpose white flour, whole wheat flour isn't refined, so it hasn’t been stripped of its nutrients and fiber. If you're not yet ready to use a 100 percent whole wheat crust, try using a blend of white and whole wheat flour in your crust.

Or try a crust made out of cauliflower

Who knew that you could make a pizza crust out of cauliflower? It might sound strange, but it can be very tasty and easy to make! Cauliflower provides specific nutritional support for the body’s detox, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory systems. Try this cauliflower pizza crust recipe next time a pizza craving strikes.

Fill up on greens

Adding greens to your pizza is an easy way to up the nutritional ante. Spinach is an easy option. Also, try arugula (which is a great source of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and iron) or escarole (which has vitamins A, K, C, E and B as well as folate, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium). Think of your pizza as a hybrid salad!

Leave off the processed meats

The traditional favorites – pepperoni and sausage – are unfortunately not the friends of someone who is trying to eat a healthy diet. Studies have found that processed meat may increase the risk of cancer. Additionally, some processed meats contain sodium nitrate, which may increase the risk of heart disease. For a meaty taste, try chicken or Portobello mushrooms.

Add these ingredients

Broccoli and mushrooms both make for tasty and healthy pizza toppings. Broccoli may help lower cholesterol and strengthen bones and is a good source of vitam C, folate and fiber. Mushrooms have been found to have some anti-cancer properties and may help strengthen the body's immune system; try Portobello, chanterelles or porcinis.

Go with the tomato sauce

Cooking tomatoes actually increases their levels of lycopene and other healthy phytochemicals. Therefore, adding a cooked tomato sauce to your pizza is an easy way to get greater health benefits than what you’d get from eating a raw tomato. Tomatoes’ nutrients help protect bone and cardiovascular health and may provide some anti-cancer benefits.