If you've ever taken a trip to the nutritionist and asked them to put together a diet plan for you, odds are he or she won't be recommending pizza in a hurry. Not even if you beg them to. Typically, with all its dough, cheese and meaty, oily toppings, pizza isn't quite on the level of kale, quinoa or Brussels sprouts when it comes to healthy superfoods.
That being said, healthy eating and pizza eating don't necessarily need to be mutually exclusive. If you're looking for a cool way to improve your diet without compromising on your pizza intake, then here are a few subtle ways you can make your pizza healthier, regardless of whether you're making pizza at home, or getting it delivered to your door.
1. When ordering in, order thin crust instead of deep pan
When you're ordering a pizza, there's a temptation to order as much as you can for the money you're paying. Not only does that mean perhaps ordering the XL instead of the medium, but it also means going for the deep pan. Yes, this means that stuffed crusts are also off-limits. But you don't need all that dough, calories or carbs: trust me on that one. Plus, deep pan pizzas tend to have more cheese and toppings per slice.
2. Blot away some of the oil
Most of the pizzas you get in places like Pizza Hut, Dominos or Papa John's is made with a hard cheese that when baked, tends to release a fair amount of oil. Each teaspoon of that oil has about 40 kcal and 4.5 grams of fat. Yeah, you don't want that. Make your pizza way healthier by just taking a paper towel and dabbing your slice to soak up some of that excess oil.
3. Eat from a plate, not a takeaway box
We've all been there: once you bring your pizza in and open the box in front of the television, it only takes a couple of episodes of the Bachelor before you realize you've accidentally eaten an entire large pizza in one sitting. Distraction is a massive cause for overeating, but just as important is portion control. Especially with pizza. By putting slices on a smaller plate, you trick your brain into thinking you've eaten more, making you feel full much sooner.
4. Cut your slices smaller
Similar to eating from a smaller plate, this tricks your easily-fooled brain into thinking you've eaten more than you actually have. Take advantage of your primitive cognitive programming.
5. Avoid certain unhealthy toppings
When you think of pizza, the majority of us will picture ourselves a nice big slice of pepperoni. It's the quintessential, defining pizza topping, but unforunately, that oily, meaty sausage is pretty far from good for your health. In the same vein, extra cheese, fatty sauces, creamy sauces and stuffed crusts are needless garnishes, adding fat and calories into a meal that doesn't quite need it.
6. Add a few healthy toppings
While at first thought, adding vegetables to your pizza sounds disgusting and wrong, once you get them on there, you'll realize they're not quite so bad. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, olives or aubergine are all pretty good on pizza, while if you're dying for a little extra meat, then plump for lean meats like parma ham.
7. When making your own pizza at home, use whole wheat flour
Making your pizza at home is simpler than it looks, and by extension, making a healthy pizza at home is also easier than it looks. A great place to start is to use whole wheat flour for your dough instead of the white flour. White flour is refined, meaning the wheat has its fibrous shell removed, making it a lot easier for your body to digest it but also turning it into sugar a lot more quickly. By going for whole wheat, your pizza becomes a complex carb - giving you tons of nutrients and leaving you fuller for longer.
8. Make your sauce yourself
On the whole, not only do your takeaway pizzas have a lot of sugar in their tomato sauce, but you'll also find that the pizza-ready stuff you get from the grocery store is pretty loaded with the stuff as well. Instead, grab yourself some tinned tomatoes, and maybe add in some carrots and spinach for a healthy, delicious homemade pizza sauce.
9. Add greens to your pizza toppings
If you were to order takeout, vegetables such as spinach, rocket or kale probably wouldn't be on the menu, but since you're making your pizza at home, then you can get yourself as many nutrients as you need, all while sampling the delicious cheese and sauce present on a pizza. Go figure.
10. Use fresh Buffalo mozzarella
Not only does the fresh stuff taste so much better than the packaged, processed mozarella that's probably been hanging out in a grocery store for too long, but it's only 22 percent fat, and is packed with protein too. By way of comparison, cheddar, is as much as 45 percent fat. Other alternative healthy cheeses include feta, ricotta or even goat's cheese. All delicious sounding, all kind on your body.
Okay guys, I know this sounds like a lot to go through, but once you sink your teeth into a delicious pizza that's also pretty healthy for you, then you'll wonder how you ever survived without it. Eating good food is always... well, good, but isn't it nicer when you know your food is healthy and delicious?