So you love pizza, but you also want to lead a healthy lifestyle. We will let you in on a little secret; pizza is actually healthy. We aren’t talking about the greasy slice from a local pizzeria or the frozen pizza full of preservatives and too much salt.
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How to Make Pizza Healthy
We are talking about homemade pizza, and it’s healthier than you might think. There are many health benefits of homemade pizza, and when you make it at home, you can create an amazing and healthy pizza pie.
Ok, so let’s break down the health benefits of pizza and the steps on how to make pizza healthy. Let’s look at the three basic parts that make up the pizza and why each one has its own health benefits.
Healthy Homemade Pizza Dough
First, making homemade pizza dough is easy. Making your own dough is a great start to a healthy pizza. If you want to make sure the carb count is low, opt for a thin crust. You can roll out your dough as thin as you like.
You can do a cracker-like crust like a St. Louis style, or you can go a little thicker and make it a New York-style thin crust. Many people worry about carbs these days, but you do need some carbs in your diet. Making your own pizza crust ensures that you can make a healthy crust that isn’t drowning in oil.
There are lots of other healthy crust options too. You can try sourdough pizza dough, which is easier to digest for some. Alternatively, you can opt for a zucchini or cauliflower crust that is surprisingly good. Check out some other low-carb pizza snacks you can make.
Healthy Pizza Sauce
Then there is the sauce. Tomato-based sauces are full of health benefits. Tomatoes are technically a fruit, not a vegetable. And this super fruit has Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and Vitamin K.
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients because it helps the body fight germs and boosts your immune system so you can keep colds and flus away.
And, if you add oregano to your sauce like us, you get even more health benefits because the active ingredient in oregano is carvacrol, which helps balance blood sugar.
Tomatoes also have the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is what makes tomatoes red and protects them from the sun’s rays. This antioxidant fights free radicals that damage cells and harm the immune system. It can minimize bad cholesterol, ease inflammation and protect the heart.
The best way to absorb lycopene is from cooked tomatoes instead of raw. So get out the big pot and fire up the Sunday sauce. Simmer a deep red marinara sauce to get the benefits of lycopene.
The Health-Conscious Toppings
The things you choose to top your pizza with will really determine how healthy your pizza can be. You don’t have to have a pizza garden to make a salad pizza, yes, that’s a thing, but you can definitely incorporate some healthy options to really reap the health benefits of homemade pizza.
Mozzarella is the king of pizza cheeses, but you can also use Parmesan, asiago, Grana Padano, fontina, and even blue cheese. Whatever cheese you choose, you can be sure it is full of calcium and protein.
To keep your homemade pizza on the healthy side, just be sure not to overdo it on the cheese because of its high fat content. Plus, too much cheese will make your slice a little extra greasy, leading to a soggy pizza experience.
A good vegan-friendly cheese substitute is known as nutritional yeast, which we highly recommend.
Ok, so here is where we can really get creative. The health benefits of homemade pizza are boosted by the super powers of vegetables. Adding vegetables to your pizza is the best way to get more fiber and vitamins in your diet. Let’s look at some of the most popular veggies to put on pizza.
- Olives contain vitamin E, polyphenols, flavonoids, and healthy monounsaturated fat. Vitamin E helps prevent cell damage, polyphenols and flavonoids help prevent inflammation and
- Mushrooms are full of potassium which can negate the effects of too much sodium and lower blood pressure.
- Artichoke hearts lower cholesterol and promote a healthy liver.
- Bell peppers contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamins C, B6, and A, which help keep cells healthy.
- Zucchini is high in antioxidants and stabilizes blood sugar.
- Eggplants is full of antioxidants. It stabilizes blood sugar and promotes weight loss.
- Onions contain chromium and vitamin C and can help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Garlic protects the immune system and keeps vampires away.
You probably know that a healthy diet needs lean protein. Choosing lean protein like chicken, shrimp, oysters, turkey, and salmon can add protein to your pizza without excess calories.
We are sorry we can’t add America’s favorite pizza topping to the healthy protein list. Unfortunately, pepperoni and similar meats like salamis have a lot of salt, saturated fat, sugar, and preservatives.
That’s not to say you should never eat them, but if you want to reap the health benefits of homemade pizza, you need to forgo the pepperoni for other healthy options.
So, is Homemade Pizza Healthier than Delivery or Frozen or Store Bought?
The short answer is a resounding YES. But, of course, it always depends on where you’re getting your pizza and their fundamental ingredients. Homemade pizza calories are way less than take out pizza you’d get from a store. Primarily, because you can control every single thing that goes on it.
All in all, by almost every metric, homemade pizza is better for you. You could even try eating pizza every day for all we care!
- Blotting the grease off a slice of pizza can save between 20-50 calories.
- Good news if you are team pineapple on pizza because pineapple is a serotonin booster. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that stabilizes mood, and it is often referred to as the happy chemical.
- Splashing hot sauce on your pizza can help you burn more calories. Hot sauce has capsaicin which is known to aid weight loss, decrease inflammation, and prevent cancer.
- Even other types of pizza like New Haven, Connecticut’s apizza can be healthy if you try hard enough!
Making homemade pizza isn’t just fun, it’s part of a healthy lifestyle. We are happy to give you lots of great reasons to grab another slice.
Were you surprised by the health benefits of homemade pizza?