- Food and Cooking
Pizza-Is It Good For You? & How To Make Pizza at Home
Pizza, We all Love It!
We All Love Pizza
Everyone I know loves pizza. Maybe the traditional cheese and pepperoni pie is not what they want. Maybe it's white sauce and vegetables. Pizza comes in so many variations almost everyone can find a style they love. But, I had always heard how unhealthy pizza is. So how healthy or unhealthy is pizza?
How Healthy is Pizza?
When you look up nutritional information it depends on what type of pizza and who made it. I looked up Papa John's nutritional information because it was easy to find. These amounts are for a large regular cheese pizza.
Nutritional Data Large Cheese Pizza
Per 2 Slices
Per 6 Slices
39 grams of carbs
78 grams of carbs
234 grams of carbs
3.5 grams saturated fat
7 grams saturated fat
21 grams saturated fat
960 mg sodium
1920 mg sodium
5760 mg sodium
That is all fine and good, but what does it mean? Is pizza healthy or not? I looked up the FDA's dietary guidelines and found these key points:
FDA Dietary Guidelines
Females per Day (Moderately Active 25-50 years)
Males per Day (Moderately Active 25-50 years)
130 grams carbs
130 grams carbs
<20 grams saturated fat
<26 grams saturated fat
<2300 mg sodium
<2300 mg sodium
Can I be Healthy and Still Eat Pizza?
It seems that one or two slices may be OK, but 6 slices are definitely too much. The carb count is very high. Sodium is a concern, especially if you are middle aged or older, have high blood pressure or are of African American descent.
FDA Nutritional Guidelines
But I Don't Want to Give Up My Pizza!
How can we have our pie and eat it too? Pizza is too delicious to give up entirely. One way to increase the healthfulness of pizza is to make it at home. At home you have much more control about which ingredients are used. You control sodium content, added sugar and fats.
You may think, "I can't make pizza at home. It is too complicated!". In all actuality, making pizza at home is very simple. And you will always get it with the correct toppings, correct amount of cheese and correct amount of sauce for your taste. Plus it is more economical.
Lower Sodium Content by Making Pizza at Home
When you begin to make pizza at home, the first thing to decide is are you going to make the crust from scratch or buy a premade shell. Pizza crust is easy and quick to make at home. You probably already have the ingredients in the pantry. However, if you are feeling a little lazy, your best bet is buying some wheat pitas. The pre-made pizza crusts have about 800 mg of sodium per serving. One wheat pita has about 300 mg of sodium.
The second decision is the sauce. Will you use your favorite spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, pizza sauce or just slice some tomato on it? Regular pre-made pizza, spaghetti and tomato sauces all have sodium content of about 300mg per 1/4 cup. Salt free tomato sauce usually has a sodium content of less than 20mg per 1/4 cup.
To keep the sodium content down even further it is best to stay away from processed meats, such as pepperoni and bacon. However, I realize that many people don't consider pizza to be pizza without the pepperoni.
How Should My Dough Look
How to Make a Pizza Crust
I have a recipe that I was given to me by a friend's Mom in New Jersey. I think New Jersey has the best pizza. My friend's Mom was a fabulous cook, especially with all things Italian. This dough recipe is quick and easy. You will probably have the ingredients on hand. When it becomes time to let the dough rest I prepare the other ingredients.
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 package Dry Active Yeast
- 1 cup Warm Water, About 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 to 1 cup Sauce, Your Choice
- 2 cups Cheese, Your Choice
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup each Toppings, Your Choice
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, the salt and the yeast in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix in the water and olive oil. I usually use a fork. Mix until the dough forms a sticky ball.
- Knead the remaining flour into the dough 1/2 cup at a time. Knead until you have a firm, smooth dough.
- Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes at room temperature. (I usually make the dough first and rest it while I prepare the rest of the ingredients)
- After resting, stretch and pat dough into a 10 X 15 X 1" jelly roll pan. Pat the dough up the sides of the jelly roll pan. Alternately you can cut the dough in half and stretch it into two circles to make two 12" pizzas.
- Cut the toppings into bite sized pieces.
- Put the sauce, cheese and toppings on the dough in the pan. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the toppings
- Place the pan in the middle of the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the amount of toppings. Check after 20 minutes. Make sure the cheese has melted in the center.
- Let the pizza rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting it.
Mmmm, Making Pizza
Make the Pizza
This is your pizza! Use what ever you like, be creative. Remember, if you use sauce, it does not just have to be tomato based. The sauce can be BBQ, Alfredo or salsa, to name a few...it all depends on what you want it to taste like.
Use your favorite cheese, or a combination of cheeses. The more cheese the better in my opinion. Just remember that cheese is high in saturated fats.
The topping are where you get to be the most creative. Play around, experiment a little. You can make half the pizza something tried and true and the other half something new.