How to Build a Healthy Pizza

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Want to know how you can build a healthy pizza? Follow these steps to save on calories without compromising your favorite foods. Take matters into your own hands and start eating healthier today!

How to Make Healthy Pizza

I absolutely love pizza. Whether it’s plain cheese, pepperoni or all the pizza toppings you can think of, just bring it, I’ll eat it. I have to admit, it has been one of my guilty pleasures that I just can’t get enough of. I know ordering take out isn’t the healthiest pick so when I came across this infographic, I knew it was something I have to share to all pizza lovers out there. Did you know that it only takes 5 easy steps to make your pizza healthier? Not convinced? Just scroll down to be a believer!

Healthy Pizza

You can thanks Cleveland Clinic for this amazing guide. Click here to enlarge.

Click here for 10 More Healthy Pizza Ideas

How to Build a Better Pizza

Keep your eye on the pie.

In America, we love our pizza. But pizza can put you over your daily limits for saturated fat and sodium, which can increase your risk for heart disease. Here are tips for making your pizza heart-healthier.

1. Support it well.

  • Thin whole-grain crust or spelt flour crust (fiber)
  • Whole-wheat pita (fiber)
  • Whole-wheat tortilla (fiber)
  • Cauliflower crust (fiber)

Thin Whole Wheat Crust

Thin whole wheat grain crust pizza. image source

Give your pizza a whole-grain foundation to benefit from its healthy fiber. Keep carbs low by choosing (or making) a thin crust. Read the ingredients on store-bought crusts, and avoid any with hydrogenated oil.

2. Be smart about sauce

  • Tomato – fresh is best, or choose no-salt added canned tomato sauce (fiber, vitamins C and K, potassium, manganese)
  • Olive oil – heart-healthy mono unsaturated fat
  • Pesto – A blend of basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, pepper and olive oil (heart-healthy mono unsaturated fat)
  • Crushed Garlic – Antioxidant-like properties help keep blood vessels flexible to manage blood pressure and prevent atherosclerosis.

Tomato Sauce

Freshly canned tomato sauce.

Make yours Mediterranean with heart-healthy sauce options. Avoid cream-based sauces (Alfredo, white sauce) and barbecue sauce (high in added sugar and sodium). Try making sofrito sauce: Lightly sautee onions and garlic in olive oil, then add fresh chopped tomatoes or pesto.

3. Accentuate the positive.

  • Peppers (vitamins C, B1, B2 and B6, folate)
  • Onions (fiber, Vitamin C)
  • Mushrooms (B vitamins, vitamin D)
  • Tomatoes (fiber, vitamin A, C and K, potassium, manganese)
  • Olives (vitamin E, healthy fat)
  • Spinach, Arugula or Kale (vitamins A, K and C, potassium, fiber and calcium)
  • Pineapple (vitamin C, manganese)

Vegetable Pizza Toppings

image source

Veggies and fruit will contribute more nutrients than any other ingredients for your pizza (not to mention fantastic flavor and color).

4. Keep it lean.

  • Chicken (protein, B vitamins)
  • Turkey breast (protein, B vitamins)
  • Shrimp (Protein, vitamin B 12, selenium, phosphorus, astaxanthin)
  • Tofu (heart-healthy omega-3 fats, meatless protein, flavonoids and isoflavonoids)

Turkey Breast

Turkey breast. image source

Try making your pizza meatless. If you want to add protein, choose it wisely. Avoid processed meats that are high in sodium, saturated fat and nitrates, such as pepperoni, sausage and ham.

5. Spread lightly.

  • Low-fat shredded cheese (calcium, vitamin D)
  • Part-skim mozzarella (thin slices) (calcium, vitamin D)
  • Fresh mozzarella (light) (calcium, vitamin D and lower in sodium)

Fresh Mozzarella

Fresh mozzarella. image source

All cheese contains saturated fat and sodium, so use in moderation. Whenever possible, select natural cheeses (such as feta, fresh mozzarella or ricotta) or cheeses low in fat and low in sodium.

Ordering Out?

Healthy Pizza

  • Ask for a think or whole-grain crust.
  • Go heavy on the veggies
  • Go light on the cheese. Ask for half the normal amount of cheese, especially if light options are not available.
  • Try vegan (no cheese and no meat). Ask for a side of parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top, if you like.

Is your mouth watering yet? Makes you want to start making your pizza right? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Looking for more healthy recipes? Try this next:

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