Pizza Healthy?

I’m home alone this week which is really just another way of saying I will probably be having pizza more than a couple of times this week.

Pizza is often thought of as an unhealthy food…and it often is, but it doesn’t have to be.

A new Scottish company called Eat Balanced has invented pizzas that contain “the correct proportions of calories, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, salts, sugar, fiber, vitamins and minerals that humans need for a balanced meal.” The pizzas are designed to meet approximately a third of daily needs so theoretically, you could eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Woo!

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect food which is why variety is so important. Although this pizza contains 30% of daily vitamin needs, it does not contain a variety of phytonutrients (beneficial compounds found naturally in different plant foods that are not yet established as essential nutrients).

So instead of relying on this recently invented pizza, invite some friends over and try making your own pizza. Mix up the toppings to get a variety of nutrients.

The Crust

The best option is to make your own crust. Try this recipe adapted from one shared by Project Eat Me reader Jacqueline Knights:

Ingredients

  • 100g (3/4 cup) whole wheat bread flour
  • 100g (3/4 cup) white bread flour
  • 1 tsp of dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • Warm water, about 125mls (1/2 cup)

Method

  • Mix all ingredients except water together. Slowly add water and mix until you get a dough.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes).
  • Shape dough into a ball, put in a large bowl and cover with a tea towel. Set it aside for 45 min.
  • Roll it out to about 1 inch thick and place on a pizza pan.
  • Add delicious toppings.
  • Bake for about 15 min at 200C (400F)

You can also get store-bought crusts but keep an eye out for whole wheat ones if you can find them. You may also be able to find gluten-free crusts if you’re gluten-intolerant.

Veggies

Add as many colorful vegetables as you want. They pack on flavor without packing on calories.

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Mushrooms – try portabellas!
  • Onions
  • Peppers – red, yellow, or green bell peppers; jalapeno, banana, or other hot peppers
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes – sliced or diced; sundried tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Fruits

Pineapple is a popular topping but why not try other fruit?

  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries

Sauces

No matter what sauce you choose, try to make or buy a lower sodium version. You can also add pureed veggies to your sauce (this is great if you/your boyfriend/your roommate doesn’t like chunky veggies).

  • Alfredo sauce – high fat so use very sparingly
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Curry sauce
  • Garlic – roasted, pureed, and mixed with olive oil
  • Hummus – experiment with different beans
  • Olive oil
  • Olive tapenade
  • Pesto – try it with different nuts and greens
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Tomato based sauce – homemade or store-bought

Cheeses

Cheese often gives pizza a bad nutritional rap, so don’t just dump on a pile of cheese. Instead, use it as an accent for other flavors.

  • Asiago
  • Feta
  • Goat cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Provolone
  • Romano
Hot tip: scatter cheese over the dough before adding other toppings to keep the crust crispy.

Other Toppings

  • Basil
  • Capers
  • Chicken breast
  • Cilantro
  • Olives
  • Shrimp
  • Turkey pepperoni

A Few Combos to Try

  • Pesto, sliced tomatoes, roasted yellow peppers, parmesan, kalamata olives, cilantro
  • Thinly spread hot sauce, jalapeno peppers, onions, blue cheese, chicken breast
  • Marinara sauce, button mushrooms, pineapple, mozzarella
  • Marinara sauce, red bell peppers, peaches, goat cheese, ham
What’s your favorite topping or combo? I need new ideas!
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