You’ve vowed to help your family eat healthier this year which usually means saying goodbye to favorite foods like home-made pizza. But what if you could keep your resolution and still serve your family the food they love? Home-made pizza tops the list as one of our favorite junk foods but with a few simple changes, you can create a healthier version without losing any flavor.
First, look at your crust. If you’re using a quick mix from the grocery store, chances are the main ingredient is bleached flour. Bleached flour is definitely not healthy even if it claims to be enriched. Flour that is bleached has literally gone through a chlorine bath to whiten and age the product. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, bleaching flour produces a by-product called alloxan, which is used to create diabetes in healthy lab animals so the disease can be studied.
You can make your home pizza healthier by making your own whole wheat pizza crust, that is both healthy and delicious. Just do an internet search for a whole wheat pizza crust for lots of simple recipes you can try. You will need to buy a few extra ingredients but once you have them in your pantry, you’ll have the makings of dozens of healthy pizza crusts. If you’re just not ready to tackle your own crust, you can still opt for a healthier version by replacing your old mix with whole wheat pre-made crusts that turn pizza making into a breeze.
Next, take a look at your pizza sauce. Some of the most popular sauces now contain oils and high fructose corn syrup. Oil adds unnecessary fat and according to Science Daily.com, researchers have tied high fructose corn syrup to diabetes. Instead, look for all natural pizza sauces that don’t contain oils or high fructose. You can also make your own sauce by simmering natural tomato puree with Italian seasonings for a flavorful sauce you can be proud to serve.
Now that you have a healthier crust and sauce, it’s time to work on your toppings. Little changes can make a big difference without eliminating your family’s favorites. Reduce the fat by replacing traditional pepperoni, sausage, and bacon with turkey options that are lower in calories and less greasy. You can cut back even further by chopping the pepperoni into smaller pieces allowing you to use less meat per pizza.
Adding vegetables is a great way to amp up the healthy factor while also adding bulk and fiber for a more filling treat. Just about any vegetable can be added but some popular favorites are onions, green pepper, and broccoli. Yellow squash cut into tiny pieces is another great option because it blends into the pizza nicely and adopts the flavors around it.
If you have family members who refuse to eat anything that resembles a vegetable try sautéing finely chopped onion and fresh spinach in a small amount of olive oil for added nutrition and a big boost in flavor. Spread it on the crust before you add the sauce and they’ll never even know they’re eating something healthy.
Finally, it’s time to address the cheese. One of the biggest reasons traditional pizzas are so high in fat and calories is because we tend to pile on the cheese. Yes, switching to a low-fat version will help but when it comes to healthy, nutritious pizza, a little cheese really does go a long way. Try replacing the massive glob you usually use with a delicate layer of cheese for a lightly browned bubbly topping that really brings out the other flavors in the pizza.
As you can see, a pizza crust can be the perfect pallet for creating delicious and nutritious meals. You can create a healthy masterpiece by eliminating the meat and loading up on vegetables, or simply turn your family’s favorite pizza into a nutrition-packed version you can feel good about serving.