Pizza doesn’t have the best reputation. But is it really unhealthy? Read on because you might be surprised at the answer…
Let’s start off with the basics, before we really break it down, shall we? Pizza’s main ingredients are bread, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Pretty simple. The bread part is mainly carbohydrates, essential for energy and brain functioning, the tomato sauce provides a little veggie action, and mozzarella is one of the least calorie-dense cheeses available. So with the combination of carbs, veggies, and a decent serving of proteins and fats, isn’t pizza basically the perfect food?
I have a genetic predisposition to being a pizza fanatic, so I’m slightly biased. I’m a believer that pizza totally can (and should) be a healthy part of your diet…. if and only if you live by a few rules. But if you don’t, say arrivederci to your chances of that “Situation”-style core. So, dolls, here are 5 ways to keep that pizza healthy and guilt-free, even when you’re raging on the weekends.
1. Go Local for Fresher Ingredients
Generally, local pizzerias use fresher, healthier, ingredients than those monster chains like Dominos, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s. In addition to quality, local pizza joints are also more likely to have healthy options like whole wheat crust, and they’ll actually take your preferences seriously.
2. Stick to Thin Crust and Lay Off the Sicilian
Let’s start from the bottom. That crust is gonna make or break your pie. If whole wheat’s an option, go for that. Believe it or not, pizza can be an opportunity to get some fiber and whole grains in, and the likelihood of you actually being able to taste the difference between white and wheat is pretty slim.
But whole wheat or not, Sicilian’s the wrong answer. Make it a point in your life to get to Sicily and try the real thing. When it comes to the crust, the thinner, the better. You can actually cut out half the calories by switching from deep dish pan pizza to thin crust. If thin crust isn’t an option however, leave the actual crust part behind.
3. Strip down that Slice (Less is more with ham, pepperoni, sausage, etc.)
Pizza’s three main ingredients are actually pretty healthy, but its toppings are the number one offender in transforming a healthy meal into a calorie catastrophe. So when looking for places to do damage control, check out what’s on top. These quick rules should help steer you in the right direction:
4. Size matters (yeah, yeah, that’s what she said)
But for real, jumbo slices (I mean you, NY and DC) can be the equivalent of 4 slices, while some restaurants serve super small personal pies.
Rule of thumb: Use the plate as your reference point (the standard paper plate has a 6” diameter). If the pie is larger than the paper plate it’s being served on, one is more than enough. If the slices are small enough that you can fit two, there ya go. Just make sure you’re not annihilating your diet with multiple platefuls just because slices (or plates) are small.
5. Avoid late night pies
No matter what you eat at 3 AM post boozing, chances are it’s not going to do you any favors. Domino's isn’t an exception, and hoping for a hot delivery person isn’t an excuse. So put down the phone, skip the Papa John's, drink some water and get some zzz’s!
Oh and as far as the grease factor goes, you’re not doing much by blotting. You’ll save on average ~30 calories and look like a psycho while doing it, but to each their own…
So now you have the facts. Pizza’s not the enemy, and in fact it can be a pretty solid part of a meal as long as you’re not going overboard with deep dish crust, unhealthy toppings, and slices from Pizza Hut that are 3 times the size of your head.
If I had my way you’d make it on your own so you’d be in total control of what went on the pie. But since I know that’s not happening with most of you degenerates, next time you’re ordering in or grabbing a bite out (and obviously not late-night munching), remember the rules above. Even if summer is over, it’s never too early to start dreaming about Spring Break. Gotta keep that beach bod in check.