Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Who Wants Pizza?

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Vegetarian Pizza
I was about a month into my very first job as a dietitian when a high level executive I was working with asked me, “How often do YOU eat pizza?”  It was my first introduction into the fact that people look at dietitians as if they are perfect eaters and that everyone should eat like we do.  HA!  Let me tell you right now:  There is not a halo over my head and there is no such thing as the perfect eater.  But that is a whole other blog for another day.  Today let’s talk PIZZA!

Pizza is quite a misunderstood food.  It gets a bad rap as a “junk” food but really it’s chock full of nutrients. Sure, there may be a bit too much fat in the cheese or meats, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that there is also good stuff in it. 

To ensure a healthier pizza choice, why not make it yourself? It’s always a better option to eat at home rather than at a restaurant so that you can add your own ingredients as you like. For a healthier pizza alternative:

  • Use whole grain crust, such as Rustic Crust
  • If preparing your own dough, make the pizza thin crust
  • Use reduced-fat cheese 
  • Add vegetables! Try: onions, zucchini, spinach, peppers, mushroom, eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and more!
  • Include garlic and olives on your pizza
  • If you can’t have pizza without meat, choose low fat options such as Canadian bacon, chicken, or lower fat pepperoni.  
  • Try different combos like fig, apple, and blue cheese pizza.  YUM!
  • The hardest part is stopping:  Limit yourself to two or three slices

When eating out keep in mind these same ideas and let the restaurant cater to your needs. To ensure a healthier pizza option:

  • Choose more authentic Italian restaurants that will serve thin crust pizzas with more sauce, less cheese and a touch of olive oil.
  • Ask for your pizza prepared with more sauce and less cheese
  • Add vegetables to your pizza (see above)
  • If eating pizza from a chain restaurant order the thin crust vegetable options
  • Eat a side salad or vegetable soup along with your pizza to increase fiber so you eat one less piece of pizza.
  • Choose healthy sides rather than wings with your pizza. Try vegetables or salads.

With various options available, pizza can be made healthier in no-time! Try it at-home for a healthy twist, and when eating out add your favorite vegetables for nutrition and taste. Enjoy!

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Tags: Cooking Healthy , Restaurant Nutrition , Vegetarian , Whole Grains

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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