Making Pizza Work by Lisa Johnson, RD

Who doesn’t love pizza! It has become one of America’s favorite comfort foods. The problem with comfort foods, however, is that they won’t leave you comfortable very long! Pizza’s are high in fat; therefore, they are high in calories. And because the fats come from animal sources like cheese and meats, they are high in saturated fat which isn’t the best heart-healthy choice. Further, when you add a the bread crust, you have lots of carbohydrates; and because pizza’s taste so good, portion control is VERY challenging. These facts make pizza eating a real struggle for the health-conscious consumer. Yet, we love pizza! So, I thought I would share some tips on how to make pizza work!

1. Portion control is a must! Just one slice of a 14” hand-tossed pepperoni pizza has 300 calories and 5.5 gms of saturated fat (which is about half your daily allowance). That is just one slice! Add bread sticks, soda, or even high calorie salad dressing and the scale is tipping! You must jog 30 minutes just to burn off 1 slice.

Tip: Order or buy individual size pizzas (6”) and make them 2 meals or share

2. Lower calories from fat: Going from just pepperoni to a supreme meat pizza adds 100 calories per slice in addition to sodium and saturated fats.

Tip: Order veggie or lean meats like chicken on your pizza as well as asking for light cheese (half the amount)

3. Lower carbohydrates: Going to a thin crust knocks 50 calories off per slice and also makes digestion must easier!

Tip: Choose thin crust, make pizza at home with whole wheat pita, or try the new cauliflower crust or chicken crust pizzas by Real Good Foods or other brands.

4. Fill up on fiber: Gourmet pizzas over many vegetable options such as spinach, broccoli, onions, peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and more! Choose these over heavy meats and cheeses.

Tip: Choose veggie pizzas or have only 1 slice of traditional pizza with a huge veggie salad on the side (with light dressing, or a salad spritzer), and water to drink!

Voila, we are left with a comparison for 1 slice of a thin crust veggie pizza with light cheese at 160 calories! That’s a significant improvement that allows us to have our pizza and eat it too!

Enjoy your pizza, but incorporate these smart tips to make it work within your goals!

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