Warm, fresh out of the oven pizza.
A tried and true comfort food, great for a picnic at the park, your next Friday movie night in, or to serve the masses at a social gathering.
Unfortunately as tasty as it is, most pizza, whether it's store bought or delivered, is often not too healthy. High in salt, unhealthy fats, and more. But with a few simple tweaks you can put a healthier spin on your pizza and have FUN doing it too!
And it's a super fun way to engage the whole house on your next night in.
Not sure where to start? I've got ya covered with a list of simple and delicious pizza tips, fun ingredients, and a few of my favorite healthy swaps so that you easily healthily your pizza night while creating your own new favorite pizza masterpiece!
Simple and Fun Pizza Making Tips:
Choose your crust. From thin to thick, whole grain to gluten free, visit your local grocer's fresh food or freezer section and you will find you have quite a variety of crust options to choose from!
Choose your sauce. No you don't need that jar labeled "pizza sauce" sitting there in the grocery aisle....get creative and use your favorite pasta sauce such as marinara, tomato basil, vodka or even just a basic tomato (you can always add your own herbs and spices!). Not a fan of red sauces? Try a creamy alternative such as Alfredo, pesto or butter cream sauce. Looking to keep your pie on the lighter side? Pureed veggies make a great sauce layer (such as a squash varietal) or opt for olive oil mixed with a few fresh herbs brushed across the crust. Want a bit of unconventional flair? Spread your favorite hummus or BBQ sauce to add some zest to your pie!
Portion out some topping options. I love using small to medium size ramekin bowls to set out a few favorite toppings as it allows everyone to see their choices up front and think of a tasty combination or theme for their pizza - Meat lovers? Veggie lovers? Hawaiian? Fruiti Tuiti? Sweet, Savory or Spice? Having toppings laid out ahead of time is also a simple way to support balance and healthy portion control, vs. dumping cheese onto your pie crust straight out of the bag for example.
Thin and crispy or thick and doughy? For a crispier thin crust try baking your pizza right on the center rack of your oven (or use a pizza baking pan that features holes for good airflow). For a thicker, more doughy crust, bake your crust on a traditional baking sheet with a bit of olive oil brushed along the outer exposed crust edges.
Time to build YOUR perfect pie!
Start With The Crust
A thin crust is great for saving on empty calories and can reduce tummy upset while still delivering all the great flavor. If you're feeling adventurous check out Pinterest for some easy to make doughs. When shopping at your local grocer choose from fresh or frozen pre made doughs and even crusts - gluten free, thin, thick, organic, whole wheat and more! Aim for low sodium and low sugar dough options and preferably whole grains to better support nutrition goals.
Sauce options are pretty endless! From reds to creams to herbs and purees to your favorite spreads you can really choose the flavor that suits you and your topping strategy best!
Herbs & Spices
Herbs, spices and seasonings are a great way to add flavor without packing on empty calories. Not sure where to start? Some classics are garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram, cinnamon, red pepper flake, black and/or white peppers.
Opt for lean, low fat and low sodium options whenever possible. Sliced chicken breast, ground turkey or chicken and seafood options all make great pizza toppers. Pepperonis and bacons are of course quite tasty, but many add loads of sodium too, so when opting for these just proceed with caution. Vegetarian? Try using tofu or beans for some protein power.
Top It With Cheese
Variety is key. From mild to bold and rich and gooey to light and flavorful there is a cheese (or two) for everyone! Using low fat and low sodium options will save you on empty calories and still deliver all the flavor. Some pizza favorites are mozzarella, Romano and parmesan, but why not punch up the flavor with a nice feta, pepper jack, gouda or even cream cheese? Can't decide? Try a finely grated cheese blend for multiple flavors.
Variety Of Fruits
More than just pineapple! Sliced pear, strawberries, apples, fig or mango are all quite tasty. I have seen some pretty beautiful pizzas adorned with fruit, talk about adding the wow factor. As a general rule of thumb, if you can grill it, you can probably slice it and bake on a pizza too!
Load Up On Veggies
What a great way to boost your nutrient values! With so many to choose from you are sure to find at least a few you can enjoy! Spinach, arugula, kale, red, yellow, orange and green peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, red or white onions, artichokes and more. The possibilities are endless!
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