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Make a Healthier Pizza

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Updated April 28, 2014

pizza big belly

Most pizza is high in calories.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images peinirli

Some types of pizza can be healthy if you have healthy ingredients.

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You can make a healthier pizza at home -- here's how:

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.

Add plenty of pizza sauce. Tomato sauce is the main ingredient in pizza sauce and it's 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, choose a lower-fat type of cheese to cut calories and saturated fat, or switch to a vegetarian cheese alternative.

Don't use greasy processed meats. Pepperoni and sausage are high in fats, and processed meats are associated with stomach and colorectal cancer. Choose lean topping options, such as chicken or shrimp, or skip the meat altogether and make a vegetarian pizza.

Double the veggies. They're nutritious and low in calories, so use generous amounts of vegetables as toppings. Some delicious choices include sun-dried tomatoes, onions, broccoli, spinach, olives, spinach, peppers and mushrooms.

Try These Healthier Pizza Recipes

Sources:

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Gonzalez CA, Riboli E. "Diet and cancer prevention: where we are, where we are going." Nutr Cancer. 2006;56(2):225-31.

Laroche HH, Hofer TP, Davis MM. "Adult fat intake associated with the presence of children in households: findings from NHANES III." J Am Board Fam Med. 2007 Jan-Feb;20(1):9-15.

Rao AV. "Processed tomato products as a source of dietary lycopene: bioavailability and antioxidant properties." Can J Diet Pract Res. 2004 Winter;65(4):161-5.

Ritchie LD, Spector P, Stevens MJ, Schmidt MM, Schreiber GB, Striegel-Moore RH, Wang MC, Crawford PB. "Dietary patterns in adolescence are related to adiposity in young adulthood in black and white females." J Nutr. 2007 Feb;137(2):399-406.

Tsugane S, Sasazuki S. "Diet and the risk of gastric cancer: review of epidemiological evidence." Gastric Cancer. 2007;10(2):75-83. Epub 2007 Jun 25.

United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

 

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