Healthy pizza? Read below …

If you asked my family what their favorite food is, they would say “pizza!” As a mom, I worried about feeding pizza to my children, because what you buy is typically in high in fat. Most restaurants do not offer a whole-grain or whole-wheat curst either. So, how can you feed your family one of their favorites and still have it be healthy?
Let’s start with the crust. Did you ever think about using a whole-wheat English muffin, tortilla, or a rice cake instead of the traditional pizza crust? Whole grains and whole wheat provide fiber, in addition to being very tasty. You can also be adventurous and make a crust from cauliflower, which is also quite delicious.
Do you have to skip the cheese? No. You can use a low-fat version of Mozzarella, Provolone, or even Cheddar, and still get your calcium. Remember, a low-fat cheese still has calories, so don’t overdo it.
Vegetables and fruits make for great toppings for pizzas. How about trying green/red/ yellow peppers, onions, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, corn, kale, black beans, or avocado? If you are using fresh vegetables, you may want to cook the vegetable beforehand to soften it. If using frozen vegetables, you will want to thaw and squeeze out the moisture to avoid a soggy crust. Pineapple, apple, mango, strawberries, blueberries, oranges and peaches are also great additions to a pizza. Ask your family to each select a favorite vegetable and/or fruit to add for a topping to your next homemade pizza.
You can still add meat to your pizza. Just change the kind of meat options you are using and even use less of them. Instead of ground beef, use ground turkey. Replace sausage and bacon with shredded chicken. The pepperoni can stay, but opt for a turkey pepperoni instead. Scrambled eggs are a tasty topping too!
Trying all or some of these tips will help you feed your family a healthier pizza. You might find that making a pizza from scratch costs less money than buying one at a store or restaurant.   Why not have pizza night at your house and get the whole family involved?

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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)