Tips for a Healthy Pizza Night

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.

Healthy Pizza Night Photo Collage

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!

Chopped Spinach

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!

You can make mini pizzas out of zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant. This makes a great snack or appetizer as well!

Bell Pepper Pizzas

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!

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Comments

  • Natalie Liao

    Omg, that looooks sooo goood<33
    I LOVE pizza and this post is making me crave for some right now!

    stop by sometime, xx natalie
    http://lavagabonddame.blogspot.com/

  • Stefanie

    P.S. what is your e-mail addy? I was going to tell you about the reply button but I can’t find your e-mail address anywhere! Is it hiding in plain site? 😉

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life

    I never thought to use a portabella mushroom as a pizza crust. My favorite pizza toppings are fresh tomatoes, or peppers and onions. The husband I usually go to Kashi frozen pizzas. The size is perfect for us.

  • Kristina @ Life as Kristina

    Wow-love this post…as much as I love pizza…which is a lot. I’ve never thought to put pizza on a portabello!!! That’s genius!!!! And how guilt free-i’m doing this asap…love it-thanks!

  • Lisa at Dishes of Mrs. Fish

    Great post! Very helpful, since we are making Fridays pizza night at our house!

  • mmmm, this is making me want pizza! We have made pizzas on english muffins before. Yummy!

  • Great post! My best trick is to add more veggies and less cheese 🙂

  • My mom always made pizzas on pocketless pitas when I was a kid. One of my favorite meals since the pita gets nice and crispy!!

  • I’ve really loved making pizza at home. It was something I didn’t realize was so easy until I actually did it.

    Spinach and mushroom have practically become requirements for my pizza- even if I’m ordering out…

  • Mmmmm. Now I need pizza. In a portobello mushroom. Yum!

  • wow these look great! I need lessons!

    ♥♥♥

    http://www.sceneofchangery.blogspot.com

  • I LOVE jalepenos on pizza. Also home-made marinara sauce is soo much better for you and yummier. Most sauses have a lot of sugar in them.

  • Yum! We love to experiment with different homemade pizza bottoms. Usually we use english muffins or bagels. Like the mushroom idea!

  • mmmm, this is making me want pizza! We have made pizzas on english muffins before. Yummy!

  • Yum! We love to experiment with different homemade pizza bottoms. Usually we use english muffins or bagels. Like the mushroom idea!

  • Danielle

    What great ideas, I love the one about using a portobella mushroom cap -I need to try that. I am hosting my 2nd link party at http://mostlyfoodandcrafts.blogspot.com/
    I would love for you to link up!

    Danielle

  • Natalie Liao

    Omg, that looooks sooo goood<33
    I LOVE pizza and this post is making me crave for some right now!

    stop by sometime, xx natalie
    http://lavagabonddame.blogspot.com/

  • Lisa at Dishes of Mrs. Fish

    Great post! Very helpful, since we are making Fridays pizza night at our house!

  • Kristina @ Life as Kristina

    Wow-love this post…as much as I love pizza…which is a lot. I’ve never thought to put pizza on a portabello!!! That’s genius!!!! And how guilt free-i’m doing this asap…love it-thanks!

  • I LOVE jalepenos on pizza. Also home-made marinara sauce is soo much better for you and yummier. Most sauses have a lot of sugar in them.

  • Just came across your blog! Great tips 🙂 I want to have a pizza night one day this week!!

  • SnoWhite

    Great list of suggestions! I’m a big fan of an all veggie pizza. Best yet; grill up those pizzas. AMAZING. You won’t miss all the cheese.

  • wow these look great! I need lessons!

    ♥♥♥

    http://www.sceneofchangery.blogspot.com

  • Courtney at Scattering Lupines

    Cooks ILlustrated has a how-to on a successful thin crust pizza this month! Their recipes are USUALLY reliable… I’ll let you know if it works!

  • Yumm!!!! they all look so good!! Jon and I are going to have to start pizza night at least once a week, what a fun thing to do together and we def need to eat healthier! I LOVE your blog!

  • great tips! Bagel thins pizza are my favorites. Pineapple and jalapeno is my all time favorite combination. Its bedtime now and I have a sudden craving for pizza.

  • Pizza is by far my favorite food, and I hate when people say its horrible for you. I definitely agree that it can be made to be healthy! I love all your pizza tips!! I’m a plain old cheese girl, but I love English muffin pizzas!

  • Ashly@Moon Walk

    I made healthy pizza last night too. Wheat crust, onions, pepers and Boca Burger Crumbs!!!

  • Jillian

    great tips! my boyfriend and i make a pizza once a week but i needed new ideas so this is perfect! xoxo jcd http://cornflakedreams.blogspot.com/

  • Great tips, I’ve gotta try a vegan pizza night soon, tip #6 is great. 🙂 My fave topping is probably artichoke hearts.

  • love jenny xoxo

    I LOVE pizza!! but I’m vegan so no cheese for me, but I love Daiya cheese. My non-veg hubby even likes it better than the standard cheese!

    XOXO

  • I love love making my pizze with an eggplant sauce or pesto!

  • My mom always made pizzas on pocketless pitas when I was a kid. One of my favorite meals since the pita gets nice and crispy!!

  • nicolekarol

    Hungry Girl has a show on the Cooking Channel and her show this weekend was about better ways to do pizza! Check it out!

  • i LOVE pizza! and these are great ideas… now i’m hungry!! 🙂

  • I love this post!! As you know, pizza is one of my favorite foods ever! I love adding tons of veggies to my pizza!!!

  • these are GREAT ideas! veggie pizza is the bomb!

  • Well, I feel ahead of the game now! Jalepenos have been my must-have pizza topping for the past 15 years. 🙂 Although I do have it with pepperoni…so I guess I lose a few points there, huh? Lol. I should try to find that meatless pepperoni you mentioned. I think Whole Foods must have it!

    These are great suggestions. I hate how restaurants give you a 200 or something percent larger portion than necessary. I have this bad habit where I hate to waste food that can’t be reheated or saved. It’s a guilt complex from that whole “there’s starving kids in China” message we all got growing up. :S

    PS. Not sure if you remember, but a while ago you suggested I drink ice water throughout the day and I have been doing that! It’s been curbing my snacking a lot! Thank you so much for that tip! 🙂

  • I love pizza nights!!! i’m going to have to try some of your tips!!

  • Meg

    I think my taste buds just screamed for joy over your zucchini pizza snack idea. Brilliant!! You should win a Nobel Prize for that one.

    Loving all of your posts. I have been meaning to make my way over and am so glad I did. Loving that you’re not afraid of color and have so many great tips!

    P.S. – The ottoman is from Ballard Designs. http://www.ballarddesigns.com/castered-tufted-storage-ottoman/furniture/ottomans/10200
    A little pricey but so pretty. I’m always on the look out for a thriftier find! I’ll let you know if I succeed.

  • Karina Cifuentes

    You have no idea, I love pizza! Seriously. Can’t get enough. This is a great post! 🙂

    xoxo,
    Dreaming of Palm Trees

  • L.Voss – I can’t find your email! eep!

    Pizza #2 is spinach, garlic and feta <3 It’s actually a frozen pizza! Probably the best one I’ve ever had — It’s called “Full Circle Organic”

    xo
    Jenn

  • is pizza number two covered in feta ?

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg

    Great tips!! There really are SO many ways to healthify pizza (without taking away from the yum factor)!

  • omg, this post has made me HUNGRY! Making my own pizza is one of my all-time favorite things to do! I think I actually prefer it over ordering pizza because I get ALL the ingredients that I want, without having to pay an arm & a leg for special toppings, etc.

  • We live on pizza once a week at our house! Thin crust, small amount of tomato sauce, lots of fresh spinach leaves, some sliced cherry tomatoes, some pizza cheese and a crumbling of feta on top! I think I would have a mutiny on my hands if it didn’t show up by Wednesday or Thursday! (Found ur blog thru AvidAppetite – really enjoyed reading along!)

  • We eat a lot of pizza over at House Bella, but almost always homemade. We use our bread machine to make the dough (you might as well call it a pizza dough machine, as that’s all we make in it). Takes about an hour and a half, so we’ll throw it in as soon as we get home from work and eat around 7pm (normal for us). I like mine with cheese, garlic, and olives. Mike’ll layer on some sausage and green peppers, if we have any laying around. That’s the benefit of making your own from dough – two pizzas is just as easy as one! We put the rolled dough in the oven to bake before adding toppings. Works like a charm, never greasy!

  • Great tips!!! I esp love the one about eating on a smaller plate! Perfect!

  • LOVE.. love.. love homemade pizza! We make it all the time.. with all kinds of crazy toppings like zucchini.. feta and tomatoes.. spicy olives.. oh yum! Your’s look awesome.. I especially love the Portabella Mushroom!
    Hope you will share with my Pink Hippo Party @ http://pinkapotamus.blogspot.com/2011/01/pink-hippo-party-11.html

  • Love the idea of using a mushroom cap! Yum! I’ve been making my own at home too – I buy whole wheat fresh dough, stretch it super thin and cover with delicious toppings!

  • This was a very much needed post:-) Most people don’t think about pizza as a healthy alternative to other food. It tastes heavenly and, made the right way, is actually good for you. Thank you for reminding us. I got hungry just by reading:-)

    Personally, I think pinapple is underestimated as pizza topping:-)

  • I love pineapple and peppers on my pizza. It’s a weird combination, but it works!

  • These comments are great – thanks ladies! Sorry for making everyone crave pizza!!! It totally just a great vessel to pack on extra veggies to our daily total =) fruit too if you count pineapple and tomatoes! <3

    loove it!

  • Thank you for your sweet note on my blog and for dropping by! Reading this post is funny because I just put a homemade pizza on our menu for this weekend…I love them!!! We just use fresh tomatoes, lots of cheese, olive oil and rucola. and pepper. So good!

  • JENNIFERRRR you make me die, seriously <3 <3 I am craving pizza so bad now. that portobello cap pizza looks INSAYYYNEELY good!

    xoxo

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life

    I never thought to use a portabella mushroom as a pizza crust. My favorite pizza toppings are fresh tomatoes, or peppers and onions. The husband I usually go to Kashi frozen pizzas. The size is perfect for us.

  • wow!!! great post!
    xoxo

    townofstyle.blogspot.com

  • Nesha

    WOW am I in love with the food on this blog or what? I have suddenly become hungry. I love how informative this post is, it’s a really nice thing to stumble across in the world of blogging.

    Nesha,
    http://thebuttonowl.co.uk/

  • Wow! these tips are great!! we LOVE pizza! i love to make a ton of whole wheat pizza dough and freeze little balls of it…perfect to have on hand 🙂

  • I love pizza! Let me rephrase that, I love GOOD REAL pizza ( I wish I could underline real). I think you’ve decided whats for dinner tonight!

  • Mmmmm. Now I need pizza. In a portobello mushroom. Yum!

  • Tara

    Pita bread is the perfect pizza crust! Whenever I made pizza back in Canada, I always made it with pita bread… it tastes so good, too!

  • yum! i really want to try the pizza in a portobello cap. with mushroom toppings. can you tell i love mushrooms? great idea – one i’ve never tried!

  • Absolutely fabulous tips! Thanks so much for sharing. Your pizzas all look absolutely delish!

    xo

  • DELICIOUS!!!

    I absolutely love pizza..especially on eng muffins/deli flats/bagel thins..so good!

    thanks for sharing girl 🙂

    xoxox

  • pizza is truly my favorite food. It’s so versatile and easy! I love feta on my pizza, oliives, and LOTS Of veggies! I’m not a meat kind of pizza gal! Just give me loads of veggies and I’ll be happy!

    In college I made english muffin pizzas ALL the time but Ihave to tell ya…I’m not a thin crust gal. I like a thick and hearty crust! Even deep dish!! “but we don’t eat pizza once a week…maybe once a month!

  • I’ve really loved making pizza at home. It was something I didn’t realize was so easy until I actually did it.

    Spinach and mushroom have practically become requirements for my pizza- even if I’m ordering out…

  • Stefanie

    P.S. what is your e-mail addy? I was going to tell you about the reply button but I can’t find your e-mail address anywhere! Is it hiding in plain site? 😉

  • Stefanie

    The fact that I am pretty much obsessed with all things pizza means I am in love with this post!! I am totally going to cook pizza on a portabella cap–that looks so good!! 🙂

  • Great post! My best trick is to add more veggies and less cheese 🙂

  • What a fantastic post! I could live off pizza! I’ll take homemade over delivery or store-bought any day! I’ve made a pizza out of just about everything: pitas, flat-out wraps, english muffins, bread, and I’ve even used the portobello caps!

    I love how you listed each tip and the benefits of each. So many people get carried away in the topping/portion size department of pizza. I usually do a mix of veggies with a side of spinach salad.

    Good to know about the addition of spice! I had no idea it helps you to fill up quicker!

    My favorite pizza toppings are roasted red peppers, onions and mushrooms!

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