Pizza can be healthy if eaten properly.
Depending on the type of crust, the amount of cheese and the toppings used, pizza can rank anywhere from nutritious or unhealthy.
Even healthy pizzas deliver a good amount of sodium from tomato sauce and cheese, so if you are watching your salt intake, you should eat with caution.
Of course, the size of the slice and the number of slices you eat count, too.
Yes, we get calcium from cheese and disease-fighting lycopene from tomatoes. And pizza crust made with whole-wheat flour (including whole white wheat flour) is healthier than the regular white crust, as it offers whole grains and fiber and is digested more slowly than refined grains.
For example, a large slice of Pizza Hut’s Thin ‘N Crispy Veggie Lovers pizza has 240 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and 710 milligrams of sodium. But a large slice of the chain’s Meat Lovers pan pizza with pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, pork and beef has 480 calories, 10 grams of saturated fat and 1,180 milligrams of sodium.
Frozen pizzas are a convenient dinner, but you need to check its nutritional value and the ingredients, especially with sodium counts, so it’s important to read labels carefully (some contain small amounts of trans fats, too).
Dairy-free and gluten-free pizzas are available, but how healthy there are, is yet to be confirmed.
A recent study concluded that pizza consumption among children and adolescents was associated with a higher daily calorie intake and higher intakes of saturated fat and sodium. It also found that pizza eaten as a snack or from fast-food restaurants had the greatest negative impact on calorie intake.
Try making pizza at home using healthier ingredients, such as whole-wheat English muffins, part-skim mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce without added salt. And don’t forget to top it with lots of vegetables; the more colorful your pizza, the better!
You can have healthy pizza at home whenever you wish.