Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Healthiest Pizza Choice

To top things off, pizza comes in so many varieties that there's sure to be something that will suite even the pickiest eater's tastebuds.

Unfortunately, while pizza may definitely please the palette, this does not mean it pleases the waistline. Many varieties of pizza can be 200 to 500 calories a slice, depending on where you slice it and how large you slice it.

For those of you downing 2-5 slices in a sitting, you can easily see how this might translate to pounds added to the scale in no time.

If you choose a little more carefully however, you can have some pizza without completely destroying diet.

It is possible to enjoy healthier pizza, but probably not at a restaurant. One slice of pizza usually has at least 300 calories, so it doesn't take long to eat most of your day's calorie needs in one sitting. Interestingly, since it is also difficult for many people to estimate portion sizes for wedge-shaped foods, overeating can be very easy.

We don't typically think of pizza as a component of a healthy diet because it is high in total fat, saturated fat, sodium and calories. This is important to remember when planning family menus because high-fat diets lead to being overweight and obese.

ou can easily make your own healthier pizza at home. You may find that one slice really does fill you up without adding lots of unwanted calories and fat. Cut back on high-fat ingredients and add lots of low-calorie, high-fiber vegetables. Try these tips:

Use a whole grain crust. You can purchase a pre-made whole wheat pizza crust, or make your own by substituting whole wheat flour for part or all of the white flour in your bread-maker pizza crust recipe. Whole grains add fiber which will keep you feeling full longer and is crucial for a healthy digestive system.
Use lots of sauce. Tomato sauce is an excellent source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help to prevent some chronic disease.
Cut back on the cheese. Although cheese is an excellent source of calcium, a lot of the calories of a pizza come from the cheese. Use just a light sprinkling of cheese, or choose a lower-fat type of cheese to cut calories and saturated fat.

Once, your only options were sinfully delicious delivery and sad, soggy frozen pies. Not anymore. We scavenged the freezer aisles to find the tastiest and healthiest choices. Our picks:

Stouffer's Lean Cuisine Deep Dish Margherita Pizza
Per pie: 320 calories, 9g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 4g fiber

The fresh-tasting sauce has real diced tomatoes. Plus, the pseudo-metallic cooking surface actually produces a crisp, golden, deep-dish-style crust.

DiGiorno Harvest Wheat Thin Crispy Crust Supreme Pizza
Per slice: 250 calories, 8g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 4g fiber

If you have time to wait for an oven-baked pie, DiGiorno delivers a delicious made-with-whole-grains alternative to the standard white-flour crust.

South Beach Diet Harvest Wheat Crust Pepperoni Pizza
Per pie: 350 calories, 12g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 9g fiber

So it's a little higher in fat. The full-size slices of pepperoni, the evenly melted cheese, and the impressive nine grams of fiber are worth it.

Amy's Whole Wheat Crust Pizza Cheese & Pesto
Per slice: 360 calories, 18g fat, 4g saturated fat, 2g fiber

Pesto is a tasty twist. But beware: Organic means you're probably steering clear of pesticides and growth hormones, but it doesn't mean low-fat.

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