Craving Pizza While On Diet? 8 Tips to Make Them Healthier
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It’s cheesy, it’s crusty, loaded with flavours of veggies and meat, and offers a whole meal in a single slice. No wonder then that people around the world and not just Italy love pizzas! For Indians, pizza is no longer a dish that is foreign, but one that we have adapted to our own culinary preferences—which means the options we now have when we crave pizzas are too many. And yet, for people hoping to eat healthy or lose weight, pizza cravings pose quite a conundrum. 

On the one hand, health-conscious people know that a typical pizza is simply too delicious to resist. On the other hand, we all know that a single slice of pizza is overloaded with carbs, unhealthy fats and so much more that can adversely impact your health. So, what people looking to eat healthy and stay fit usually do is to curb those cravings and avoid pizzas. But did you know that there is a perfectly healthy way to indulge in those pizza cravings without compromising on your waistline or cholesterol levels? 

Turning a pizza healthy is not that difficult as long as you shift your perspective just a bit. Break down the components of a pizza and you have at hand a number of ways through which you can tailor the dish into a healthy bite with ease. What you essentially need are methods to turn the unhealthy aspects of pizza into heathier ones, and voila, no need to curb your cravings any longer!  

The very first tip, of course, is to make your healthier pizzas at home. This way, you can easily account for all the ingredients and make sure the final dish is packed with nutrition. You can easily make pizzas on stove-top pans, ovens and even air fryers—so homemade pizzas are really too easy. As for other ways to make healthier pizzas at home, here are all the tips you will ever need. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Shilpa Shetty Kundra

1. Choose Whole Grains 

Instead of using refined flour or maida to make your pizza base, make a dough out of whole grains. All whole grains including whole wheat flour contain the bran and germ of the grain, which means you are likely to get more fibre, vitamins and minerals through these than refined flour crusts. You can also explore millet flours which are denser, nuttier and absolutely great for your health. 

2. Load Up On Veggies 

It is quite natural to add a variety of bell peppers to a pizza to make it look more colourful, but if you want to make your pizza truly healthy then don’t just stop at bell peppers and onions. Instead, opt for more veggies like corn, mushrooms, spinach, carrots and even eggplants to add more healthy carbs, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals to your pizza. 

3. Use Lean Proteins 

You might be tempted to dig into a pizza with pepperoni, salami or sausages made of various meats, and these are indeed delicious. But the problem with these protein options is that they are processed and packed with sodium, preservatives, trans fats and saturated fats. So, you should instead opt for lean proteins like grilled chicken, paneer or even tofu. 

4. Say Cheese, But Cautiously 

Ask any pizza lover and you’ll know that pizza is incomplete without cheese. And yet, processed cheese varieties are loaded with saturated fats and calories, making their addition anything but healthy. So, cutting down on the cheese or using alternative, healthier cheese should be your way to go. Try low-fat cheese, plant-based cheese or even artisanal cheese that isn’t processed or have any additives.  

5. Make Your Own Sauce 

Store-bought or commercially produced tomato sauces taste great, but that is usually because they have additives, sodium, sugar and also preservatives—none of which are good for your health. On the other hand, making your own pizza sauce at home isn’t difficult, since all you need are tomatoes, herbs and a few seasonings like salt and pepper. Choose to make your own homemade pizza sauce and your slice will inevitably turn so much healthier. 

6. Pick Quality Toppings 

Adding fresh herbs to your pizza can not only elevate its taste and flavour, but also pack a lot more nutrition. So, don’t just stick to packaged dried oregano or chilli flakes. Instead, add fresh basil, parsley and even coriander (offbeat, yes, but it is delicious). Add a dash of extra virgin olive oil on top if you are cutting down on the cheese, and you’ll still enjoy a smooth and velvety pizza topping. 

7. Portion Control Matters 

When it comes to enjoying pizza, making the portion you eat healthier matters a lot. Of course, if you eat a whole pizza by yourself it will add a lot of calories, no matter how healthy the dish is because of the healthy components mentioned above. So, pair your pizza with a side salad or steamed veggies so that you can automatically control the portion size while ensuring your plate is healthy. 

8. Experiment With Alternatives 

Healthy pizzas are now a thing all over the world, and people are experimenting with everything from cauliflower and zucchini crusts to no-cheese toppings that are veggie-forward. So, don’t hold back on your imagination and experiment with your healthy homemade pizza to make them the dish you no longer need to avoid for the sake of your health.