Is pizza night a staple in your home? If not, it most certainly could be!
Pizza gets a bad rap as being a greasy calorie bomb due to its typical line up of processed meat toppings, mass amounts of cheese and thick doughy crust.
Today I’ll be sharing a few tips and tricks for making one of America’s favorite foods a healthy balanced meal.
Tips for a Healthy Pizza Night
Let’s get our pizza on!
Tip #1: Ditch the thick crust
Whether you’re making it at home, ordering out, or going frozen, choosing the thinnest crust prevents you from getting too many calories from a doughy flour based crust. If you’re making pizza at home, try making a pizza with a whole grain tortilla or pita! Crisp the pita/tortilla up in the oven first, then load up with your favorite toppings and re-bake until it’s melted and delicious
In addition to tortillas + pitas, you can use bagel thins or english muffins to make your pizza.
Tip #2: Pile on the veggies
Ditching meat will slash fat, calories, and additives off your pizza! Vegetables are fat-free and, in my opinion, have so few calories that they barely count as having calories! Load up on all your favorites for a colorful, flavorful, and balanced pizza. This is also a great opportunity to use up any veggies (or pineapple!) in your crisper. If you have to have your pepperoni, test out the meatless variety you’ve seen in your grocery store!
You get bonus points for going spinach crazy on your pizza!
Tip #3: Cut smaller slices
Paul is the genius behind this one. He cuts the pizza in half, then into 4-6 skinny slices per half.
Starving? Split half the pie with your sweetie and pop a size of veggies in the microwave to go with it!
Not that hungry? You may notice you’re satisfied after fewer pieces.
Having a large slice in your hands can sabotage you by tricking your mind into telling you that you have to finish the whole slice before you stop eating. This goes true for the dish in front of you at restaurants. Your brain says: “Finish it! This is what a portion looks like!” and your poor tummy isn’t able to pipe up until it’s too late and the damage is done. That 20 minute wait for the tummy to scream out is dangerous for speed eaters like me! I have friends that, when eating pizza, cut each standard slice into small bites with a fork and knife for about half the slice. What a great method for slowing down your eating!
Tip #4: Re-think Your Dough
One of my favorite healthy pizza night hacks is turning giant portobello cap into a pizza! Bake the mushroom until tender and then top with your favorite pizza toppings! Bake for a few more minutes, until the cheese melts, and then dig in!
Tip #5: Ditch the box + grab a plate!
There are a few benefits associated with eating off a small plate instead of a larger one. You will have a limit to how much pizza you can fit on it. Also, your brain will register a packed small plate as more satisfying than a half empty dinner plate.
If you do use a large plate, fill up the majority of the plate with a side salad or veggie packed soup/side dish. Keep it pretty by choosing a few different colored vegetables to match the vibrancy and appeal of the pizza.
Tip #6: Ditch (or just limit) the cheese!
A saucy veggie pizza is absolutely delicious. The cheese is by any means a bonus so try going extra light on the cheese or even skipping it for a tasty vegan pizza that is sure to rock your taste buds!
Tip #7: Get spicy
Top your pizza with jalapeños and/or red pepper flakes! You can remove the seeds and inside of the jalapeño to cater the spice level to your taste buds.
In a nutshell, the capsaicin has a wonderful anti-inflammatory effect, gives great flavor to your meal, causes you to eat slower and also causes you to feel fuller quicker. Studies show that there are properties in spicy foods that trigger your body into feeling satisfied and essentially fuller in a more timely manner than bland foods do. Score!
Tip #8: Go Organic
When choosing a frozen variety, scout out the organic pizzas. These are usually the ones with the most natural ingredients, no preservatives, and most veggies. Organic pizzas also typically have uber thin crusts (though there are always exceptions!) and smaller in size.
Since they’re smaller, they make a perfect sized meal for two. Stay away from the big name frozen types. (I’m not going to name names, but one of them rhymes with bonjorno!) These big name pizzas are loaded with an excess of cheese, additives, and genetically modified BS.
I’ve also noticed that carbonated water (I heart perrier lime) or even an occasional light beer makes a perfect pairing to pizza. Something about the fizzy water makes me feel full SO much faster! Feel like pouring yourself glass of champagne? I won’t judge.
Have any tips and tricks to add for a happy healthy pizza night? Leave them in the comment section below!
What are your all-time favorite pizza toppings? Mine are jalapenos, mushrooms, and feta!