Nothing says hanging out with friends like pizza. Have a bunch of relatives in town who all have different food likes? Chances are at least one night you’ll order pizza. And if you’re a college kid, well then pizza is usually a staple in your diet thanks to it being both cheap and one of the few late-night options. While pizza usually gets a bad rep, it can actually be a healthy option if you do it right!
Here are the ingredients you need for a healthier pizza that wont ruin your health goals:
- Sorry Chicago, but that deep-crust pizza is purely refined carbohydrates. Healthy option: thin crust. Even healthier option: whole wheat thin crust.
- Say no to extra cheese. Some places even let you choose to have less cheese than normal. While less cheese means less calories, if you want traditional pizza go ahead and have the regular amount!
- Speaking of cheese, if your pizza place has it, opt for a low-fat mozzarella or other reduced-fat cheese. Chances are you wont be able to tell a difference.
- Number 1 rule of a healthy pizza: load up on the veggies! Not only will you reap the health benefits from the vegetables themselves, more veggies means less space for cheese (aka. less calories)
- If pizza just isn’t pizza without some pepperoni or sausage, go ahead and put some meat on, but stick to only one meat. If you really want both, order one pizza with pepperoni and another with sausage, then have one slice of each!
- Remember: the larger the size of the pizza, the bigger the slices will be. As long as price isn’t an issue, order two small pizzas for you and your friends rather than one large pizza – that way you’ll be able to have more slices, plus try out more topping combinations!
- Cheesy sticks and cinnamon-sugar sticks may sound delicious, but they only add up to extra carbs and sugar, basically empty calories. These are a definite skip.
- Serve with a side salad
- If going out for pizza where salad isn’t an option, bring a piece of fruit with you as a side. It’ll help fill you up without needing that one-too-many slice.
- Remember: soda and beer have calories too, empty calories. Take them into consideration when deciding on whether or not to have that last piece.
Sargent professor and registered dietitian Joan Salge Blake has a great pizza nutrition tool on her website! You simply build your pizza and then the Pizza Parlor tells you the nutrition information per slice. To give it a go, here’s how our healthier option pizza compares to both a deep-dish pie and a standard cheese pizza:
12-inch Deep-Dish Pepperoni and Sausage:
With: Pan crust + pizza sauce + mozzarella + pepperoni + sausage
Sat Fat: 7.5g
12-inch Standard Cheese:
With: Regular crust + pizza sauce + mozzarella
Sat. Fat: 4g
12-inch Veggie Lovers (Healthier Option)
With: Thin crust + pizza sauce + mozzarella + mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, tomatoes, broccoli
Sat. Fat: 4.2g
Want to make sure your pizza provides exactly what you want nutritionally and in taste? Make your own! We have some great pizza recipes below:
- Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza
- Smoky Corn and Black Bean Pizza
- Tomato, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza