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How to Make Pizza Healthier to Eat

Updated on June 7, 2014
Pizza. Yum.
Pizza. Yum. | Source

Pizza and Health

Pizza is a fun meal to eat. There are a variety of toppings to choose from and ordering pizza is a great way to get out having to cook dinner. Head out to a restaurant or have it delivered right to your front door.

Pizza, however, is not the healthiest food option. It is high in fat and calories. There may also be a high amount of sodium per slice, depending on the style of pizza.

Eat healthier when pizza is on the menu by easily adjusting the meal. Avoid feeling guilty for eating pizza!

Portions.
Portions. | Source

Portion Sizes

One option to make pizza a healthier option is to limit your portion size.

Often, delivered pizzas are pre-sliced. Cut the slices again in halves, so that one slice now becomes two. It will take you longer to eat the two smaller pieces, making you less likely to opt for a third or fourth one. Trick your body into thinking it is consuming more by breaking up the quantities. You are reducing your portion sizes.

Also, limit yourself to a certain number of pizza slices before you begin the meal. If you are eating with someone else, try telling them your limit number. They will help keep you to your word, preventing you from overindulging or binge eating. Limit your portion size in order to minimize the number of calories consumed and make pizza a healthier option.

Green peppers are a healthy choice for toppings.
Green peppers are a healthy choice for toppings. | Source

Pizza Toppings

Ordering a pizza with extra cheese is not the healthiest option.

Cheddar cheese, traditionally the basic pizza topping, is high in fat. Instead, opt for other varieties such as feta or parmesan cheese. These alternatives are lower in fat content. Ask the particular restaurant if they can substitute a different cheese or at least cut down the amount of cheese used on your pizza. To keep a customer, many restaurants will complete custom orders.

Try adding vegetables to your pizza as toppings. Vegetarian pizzas are a popular style, though the specific vegetables used vary by restaurant. Commonly used are tomatoes, olives, green peppers, and mushrooms. As fruits and vegetables are important to a healthy diet, you are incorporating nutrition into your meal.

Limit or eliminate the amount of meat you add as to your pizza. If you do not want to switch meats like pepperoni and ground beef for the vegetable toppings, you have a few options to make pizza a healthier choice. Try reducing the amount of meat added to the pizza in order to lower the sodium and fat content of the slices. Another option is to balance the meat toppings with the vegetables on the pizza. You then keep the meat but also get the nutrition of the vegetables.

Balance the pizza with a salad.
Balance the pizza with a salad. | Source

Easy Side Dishes

Another way to make pizza a healthier meal is to pair it with a nutritious side dish. When you introduce other foods to the meal, you will eat less pizza. Fewer calories are then consumed.

Try pairing a slice of pizza with a salad on the side. You will have a variety of foods to choose from during your meal. Also, filling up on the salad greens means that you won't eat as much pizza in one sitting. Your health is kept in check without compromising taste.

If you don't enjoy salad, an alternative is to add a bowl of vegetable-based soup. There are many healthy soup recipes found online. Canned varieties are also available in store. For example, Progresso's Minestrone soup has only 100 calories per cup and two grams of fat. The addition of the soup with the pizza on the menu presents a healthier meal than the pizza alone.

Blotting

Blotting is the process of removing extra oil from the top of the pizza, usually by using a napkin. The extra oil is melted fat from the cheese that appears when the cheese is heated.

Blotting removes about 40 calories and 4 grams of fat from a single slice. It is well worth taking the time to blot your pizza in order to lower the amount of calories and fat! Over a few slices, the numbers can add up. By lowering both calorie and fat content of what you are eating, you are creating a healthier meal.

The Healthier Options

Making pizza healthier is not overly difficult. Remind yourself that a small amount of pizza is fine, while over-indulging is bad for your health. Try adding more vegetables to your pizza or pairing the meal with a side salad. There are simple ways to make pizza a healthier option, so that you don't have to worry about feeling guilty eating the delicious food. Enjoy that slice!

Go ahead, open the box! You're allowed.
Go ahead, open the box! You're allowed. | Source

Do You...

Do You Try To Make Your Pizza Healthier?

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    • ChristyWrites profile image
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      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks Jools, Victoria, Marcy, and vibesites for your comments here. Great that we are all making efforts to eat healthier. Thanks as well Victoria for letting me know about the inspiration and hope you feel better now.

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks for mentioning the alternatives (like feta cheese as opposed to cheddar). Pizza is one food on where you can put anything you want. Peppers, onions, olives, even some greens -- the sky's the limit even for vegetarians/vegans who love pizza.

      Up, useful/interesting, as well as a following. :)

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      I'm glad you included the tip about blotting - I do this with all foods that come to my table with a greasy sheen on them. I had not heard the exact (or potential) savings of fat and calories, but once you start dabbing off the excess fat, you notice the difference in the food right away - the real taste comes through, not the overcoating of oil!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Christy, I just wanted to let you know you inspired me. I've been sick for 3 days, eating mostly soup, and I am ready for some pizza! I pulled one out of the freezer and am going to make a big ole serving of salad to go with it! Can hardly wait!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Pizza is one of my favorite foods! I love lots of veggies on it, too. And cheese, I must admit. I like the meat, but I can cut down on it. The blotting the oil is a great idea! Nice, useful hub!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Great ideas Christy. I am already a dedicated 'blotter' when it comes to pizza. I was amazed to see a saving of 40 calories per slice for so litlle effort! I make my own at home and always opt for lots of veggies to top them ( at least that seems healthier!) and I make the bases very thin to keep the carb count down but I cannot do with less cheese :o)

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Dana, Mmmm great family tradition for you to keep up. Healthy and tasty too - great combo :)

      Hi Ishwaryaa, thanks for the compliments and share too! I really appreciate your support with my hub and decisions to live healthy.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      This is a great hub....

      Pizza with a yummy salad on the side makes a great meal. And it cuta the pizza portion way down. We used to have this as a fun family dinner when I was a kid. And because I started doing it young, I kept it up as an adult. Pizza and salad go together for me like a burger and fries. :)

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub with helpful tips for the weight-conscious!

      In my country, vegetarian pizzas are much more common than non-vegetarian pizzas. I and my mother often made healthy mini-pizzas at home and we added plenty of garden-fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and corn as well as a dash of low-fat mayonnaise, cottage-cheese and oregano.

      Once again, a well-written hub with sensible points! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up and shared on Facebook

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Lovedoctor, yum I like vegetarian too! The grilled green peppers are one of my faves. Thanks for the comment!

      Annie, I like the idea of 'unjunking' food - let's get healthier! :) Thanks for the comment and vote.

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Healthyannie 4 years ago from Spain

      Great hub! Pizza is often thought of as junk food but the opposite can be true. I recently wrote a hub called unjunk your junk food. Why can fast be healthy? Voted up. Annie

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      I love pizza. My favorite toppings are mushroom, olives, green peppers and tomatoes. Vegetarian pizza is a good option. good advice here.

    • ChristyWrites profile image
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      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thelma, well now I want pizza too! Thanks for stopping by to read and hope your next pizza is yummy and even healthy!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Yummy! It makes my mouth water now. I usually put a lot of vegetable toppings on my selfmade pizza, but sometimes I just need slices of salamis on it. Thanks for your tips. Voted up and shared.

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks Mel! Yes, I wrote this hub on a day I was craving pizza and just did not want to feel guilty about eating it! Thanks for the votes and happy comment :)

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Yay!! I'm so glad I found this article. Who is able to give up pizza, even when you're trying to lose weight or eat healthier, there is always a way to include pizza in your eating plan. Thanks for sharing this! Voted up, awesome, useful and interesting!

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @lovedoctor, I completely agree. And if we can make pizza a little healthier then I say: let's do it!

      @RunningDear, Absolutely! I share my tips so we can keep enjoying the delicious taste of pizza :)

      @Crazzykylex, Hehe great comment, thanks!

      @Angela, Now that you say that I also notice some of my friends don't eat the crusts. Too much bread perhaps. Thanks for stopping by :)

      @Rebecca, So happy to hear you find this hub useful. Thanks!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      voted up awesome! You gotta love pizza! lol.

    • RunningDeer profile image

      RunningDeer 4 years ago from Iowa

      O pizza, my one true love that I can never resist. I'm glad you thought of other ideas to make it healthier! Thanks for the tips!

    • Crazzykylex profile image

      Crazzykylex 4 years ago from Incredible India!

      O my my my! Now I can have a pizza without any hesitation. Great hub, Christy! You Rock!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This is helpful and I will share this! I often eat all the topping but, not the crust!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I like the idea of stuffing myself with a salad and eating a smaller portion of pizza. I love pizza, it is one of my most favorite foods. But I do have a bit of a cholesterol problem, so I really have to watch it. I vote this Hub useful. Sharing all around!

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Peggy, we are all allowed treats in moderation in my opinion. Hehe yes there are limits! Thanks for the comment and votes. Enjoy your next slice :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You mean to tell me that consuming half of a large pizza is eating too much? Haha! I do like the ones with plenty of veggies and I like your suggestion of blotting the pizza and also having a salad on the side. Good work on this hub. Here is to enjoying an occasional pizza and not feeling too guilty by following some of your suggested ideas. Voted up and useful.

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @KDuBarry, great suggestion! Thanks for adding the tip here.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Another good idea for a healthier pizza would be to have whole-grain pizza if you are watching other aspects of your healther other than fats and calories :)

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @John, I have tried that pizza crust and it is good. I like the idea of making my own pizza and adding toppings to suit my own tastes. Thanks for the comment!

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      What can I say Christy, I love pizza! I haven't had a good one in a while. Boboli pizza crust is well known in the Los Angeles area, because, it's sort of a "make it yourself" type of pizza. It's a plain pizza pie and it's up to you the chef, to decipher what toppings you'd like to put on it; I enjoy pizza from time to time, but it's not particularly good for you. Your article is really great. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with everyone.

      John

      John

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @SusieQ42, Right on! I hope it tasted great :)

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 5 years ago

      Ham and pineapple...

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      SusieQ42, yes I am getting hungry as well as I re-visit my hub here :) Thanks for the comment and read! Enjoy your dinner too.

      @thoughtforce, Allow yourself the treat occasionally and follow some of the tips to make the meal on the healthier side. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and learned from the tips!

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Ardie, Hello my friend :) Oooh your homemade pizzas sound delicious. I will be sure to hop on over for a slice! Blotting is a great way to save ourselves a few calories, isn't it?!

      @Sunshine, Hehe your comment has me laughing. We are allowed our treats when kept to a limit and do not over analyse your lunch. Enjoy the rest of your day and here are suggestions for next time :) Thanks for the comment!

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Marc, how kind you are! I am enjoying my time at HupPages and your support here is great! Yes I have taken photos and will uploading them soon. Ah where does the time go?! No good pizza shops where you live eh, how about making one from scratch or buying a frozen variety?

      @proudtobeadad, Yes thanks for another great suggestion. Indeed cheese can be skipped altogether depending on preferences and allergies. Good point!

      @alocsin, Thanks for stopping by! Yes we can not totally deprive ourselves of foods we enjoy so portion control is very important. Well put.

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 5 years ago

      Yum! I've got to see if my husband wants to order pizza now. You've got my tummy rumbling!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      I love pizza but I don't eat it so often because of the many calories! You give many good tips here and I will try them. To have a salad as a side dish is always a good idea since it helps me to eat smaller portions :)

      Thanks for the tips! Voted up, useful!

      Tina

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Great suggestions Christy :) I make my own pizzas using a whole wheat crust and an organic pizza sauce, which I lightly apply. Then I add the toppings - it took quite a few practices to get the amount of toppings right and I change them up between different veggies. BUT if I do get a slice of store or shop made pizza I take a small slice and a blot the excess grease...ick

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      This was probably not the best hub to read after having a slice of Pizza Hut pizza for lunch. It was so good, yet so bad. Double the work-out today. Excellent hub!!

    • Marc Babineau profile image

      Marc Babineau 5 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

      Another great hub, Christy! In what's turning out to be a rather long line of them - time for those seaside pics now, eh? Any of that Japanese trash from the tsunami showing up there yet? Speaking of trash, me no eat pizza anymore, the town where i live has no good 'za shops!

    • proudtobeadad profile image

      proudtobeadad 5 years ago

      How about only a sauce pizza? No cheese - no toppings. We have a diary allergy we deal with, and it's really pretty good after you get used to it.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think portion control and moderation is the key. I indulge in pizza, but no more than once in a while, after mostly eating healthy. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • ChristyWrites profile image
      Author

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Rolly, Ooh your pizza stone sounds like a great tool. I bet your home-made pizza is very tasty. Hugs back to you!

      @Lileyth, I am thinking I need to get myself a pizza stone. Yes spinach is a good topping as well! Thanks for the comment.

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      My present favorite is ricotta, spinach and fresh tomato. There is a pizza stone that Pampered Chef sells which makes a perfect crust.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Christy... I make mine right from scratch and love experimenting. My problem is I always seemed to have far to much topping and make a mess. I was given a gift a few years ago that has been a real asset. A pizza stone for the oven, once hot slip your creation onto it and you have a great pizza.

      Hugs from Alberta

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