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Pizza Nutrition


A lot of people might criticize you for eating pizza--nutrition and pizza can’t possibly go hand in hand is what they would have you believe. The truth is, pizza has lots of good, nutritional ingredients, and if you pick and choose your toppings properly, pizza can be healthy meal. The key though, is not to go to your local pizza eatery and order a large pizza with three kinds of meat and cheese and sit there and eat the whole thing--or even three or four slices. Having a healthy pizza meal is going to take more work than that.

For instance, if you regularly eat at national or well-known pizza restaurants, you will be able to find out the exact nutritional content in one slice by asking for their brochure, which gives nutritional values of each item they sell, or by visiting their website or one of the countless others on the internet devoted to the fat and calorie content of national chain restaurants. You will rarely find a popular pizzeria who doesn’t offer nutritional content because with today’s focus on health, no company wants to be perceived as ignoring consumer concerns. Nutritional content labels are usually based on one slice so keep that in mind as well when you study the pizza--nutrition contents on a frozen pizza as well.

Pizza products can be a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates, primarily starches, and various vitamins and minerals. The lowest fat and sodium content in each slice should be a priority in making a decision about what kind of pizza to buy. Protein is a good nutrient and cheese and meat-toppings make pizza a high-protein bonanza. Don’t worry about getting too much protein. But when the protein is from cheese and meat, you will need to adjust the amounts of each to get the best choices for fat and salt.

One healthy choice in this department is ordering your pizza with half the cheese or with lite-cheese. Or, go without cheese altogether if you want to get really fanatical about it.  Then take a look at the meat content.  When choosing healthy pizza nutritional content, stay away from pizzas with names like meat-lovers,  multi-meat,  extra meat, or meat combo. Ham is a good choice as is chicken for pizza--nutrition is based on how lean the meat is that you pick. If you have to wander into the higher fat varieties of meat--pepperoni is better than sausage, pork (bacon), or beef.

When determining what is healthy for the crust on your pizza--nutrition here will mean not choosing anything in the area of thick crust or stuffed crust. Go for thin crust. Also go with the lowest carbohydrate level you can manage to find. The fact that pizzas are usually low in simple sugars and higher in complex carbohydrates (starches) is good as is the fact that they use oil-based shortenings which reduces any cholesterol levels.
The most perfect crust choice is whole wheat, thin crust, and these are getting easier to find both in restaurants and stores.

The tomato sauce is one of the healthiest pizza ingredients, contributing a good supply of vitamin A. Other important nutrients found in pizza are thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. The cheese is a good source of calcium.

Try to make your pizza choice have the lowest calorie content you can manage. Be judicious when choosing vegetable toppings. Buying a vegetarian pizza is an excellent decision but if you are one of those people who just has to have meat, choose some veggie toppings that can add to your vitamin content without adding too many calories. Good choices here are spinach, pineapple, mushrooms, black olives, onions, garlic, peppers (green are good but red give you more vitamins if you can get them), and broccoli.

So, if you have decided to eat healthy, the good news is you don’t need to take pizza out of your diet. Make some alternative choices for the cheese, crust, and toppings, and don’t pig out by eating more than one or two slices at  a serving.  Add a salad to make the meal even healthier. If you have the time, the perfect way to get exactly the ingredients you want in your pizza is to make it homemade.  You can do it from scratch or get one of those little pizza kits and add your own cheese and toppings. Watch out for the sodium content. Always go for the lowest sodium and fat content you can find, and the lowest number of overall calories. That means to aim for 200 or 250 calories per slice and not 500-800 calories per slice. You will still get a tasty pizza and be healthier for it.


 

 


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