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Our Blog: February 7, 2020

Healthy Pizza Options for National Pizza Day

GettyImages-1059162920By Nicole Spain, Registered Dietitian

If your family is anything like mine, then pizza may just be an all-time favorite at your house! However, with two children recently diagnosed with celiac disease, we have had to explore alternative crust options.  Whether you eat wheat-based pizza or need to go gluten-free, there are many pizza crust options on the market nowadays. Here is some info to help you decide on the best crust for your family, whether you are buying at the grocery store or getting delivery:

Whole-Grain Crust – If you have no dietary restraints, this, nutritionally, may be your best option. Whole-grain crusts can pack in extra fiber and vitamins with each slice. Look for pre-made dough in the refrigerated section or frozen aisles at your grocery store.

Gluten-Free Crust – These crusts are made using water, yeast and a gluten-free flour (typically from soy, rice, garbanzo beans, soy, tapioca, potato or rice). Compared to crusts made with wheat flour, a gluten-free crust is considerably denser and less pliable, making it good for a thin crust pizza.  However, many gluten-free flours are lacking in vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins and folate.  As for my family, our favorite find in this category has been Three Bakers Gluten Free Whole Grain Pizza Crust for making your own pizza at home. 

Cauliflower Crust – Newer to the market, this crust is made by mashing or ricing cooked cauliflower and combining it with parmesan cheese, oil, water, and herbs. It is a thin crust with a bit of crunch to it.  Don’t let the name fool you though, as it may not be as healthy as it sounds because of the cheese and oil used in making it. Make sure you read your labels before buying this crust!


Make your own pizza night!

Making pizza at home can be incredibly fun for kids and grown-ups alike! My kids like to make individual pizzas. We lay out the individual pizza crusts on baking sheets then I set out bowls of our favorite toppings, sauce and cheese. I have found that my kids will add a lot more veggie toppings to the pizza when they make it themselves! Here are some easy tips to make that perfect pie a bit healthier!

  • Use a whole-grain crust
  • Use lighter cheese (ex. a combo of naturally low-fat parmesan, part-skim mozzarella and provolone)
  • Loud up on veggies
  • Choose leaner meats like turkey bacon, turkey pepperoni, grilled chicken or chicken sausage
  • Spoon on homemade sauce – jarred pizza sauces may be full of sodium, sugar and preservatives. Or, try pesto or olive oil and fresh garlic instead of traditional red sauce!

    Looking for new combinations?  Try one of these tasty combos!

  • Broccoli, fresh tomato and turkey bacon
  • Roasted butternut squash and spinach
  • Grilled chicken, roasted red peppers and basil
  • Zucchini and chicken sausage
  • Pesto, fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes and turkey bacon
  • Portabella mushrooms, red onion, Italian salami and balsamic vinegar drizzle
  • Taco meat, salsa and cheddar cheese
Scrambled eggs, diced peppers, chicken sausage and cheddar cheese