Can Pizza Be Healthy?

Author: Adam Macdougall   Date Posted:2 August 2019 

When you think of unhealthy food options, pizza would no doubt come to mind.

It's easy to see why - oozing cheese on a deep pan base, greasy fingers, and mountains of topping thrown on. The calories can very quickly stack up.

But is there more to this classic Italian dish than its reputation suggests?

Can Pizza Be Healthy?

Like anything, Pizza can be taken in two directions. Take burgers as an example: you can get a double quarter pounder from McDonald's that's dripping fat and sauce, or you can cook a turkey burger at home with a mountain of salads on a wholegrain bun. Pizza is much the same. 

Sure, a meatlovers pizza from Domino's would never fit into the category of health food, but what about a rocket and prosciutto pizza on a thin crust? Or a pizza sprinkled with feta and light marinara sauce on almond flour crust?

As you can see, no food is inherently 'unhealthy'. It comes down to how it's prepared that makes the difference.

When you actually break down the elements of pizza, it's a pretty holistic nutrient source. The base is a source of carbohydrates, the cheese and toppings are a source of fat and protein. It all comes down to the type of pizza and portion sizes.

So, how do I make pizza healthy?

A pizza is essentially 3 elements: base, sauce, and toppings. 

Making healthy options in each part results in a food that can fit any diet, even weight loss.

The Base

Choosing thin-crust bases as opposed to the thick or deep pan bases will cut down the calories. But bases aren't just made with dough. 

Cauliflower bases; sweet potato bases; almond flour and greek yogurt; there are numerous ways to cut out the carbs without compromising taste. You can also use flatbread and tortillas, which are lower in carbs than traditional pizza bases.

Sauce

Choosing low salt, low-fat sauce options is an easy way to cut out calories in this area. Watering down your tomato paste also helps with serving size.

Toppings

Toppings are the highlight of the pizza. The options are limitless and come down to your own imagination. Limit fatty, processed meats like pepperoni, and pile on the vegetables. Also, opt for low-fat cheese and apply a minimal amount. 

Portion size

A good way to control your portion size with pizza is to make it part of a larger meal. Serving a pizza with a side salad or vegetables will fill you up more so than just the pizza itself, and will balance out the carbohydrates of the pizza.