5 Pizzas That Deliver on Health
Pizza is a weekly favorite for many people. However, many pizzas contain not only varying degrees of sugar and fat, but also lactose and gluten, which are hard on some people’s digestive systems. So they avoid pizza altogether. Others avoid pizza because of further dietary restrictions, such as being a vegan or following a vegetarian lifestyle.
With these five recipes, you can finally have your piece of the pie and feel good about eating it, too.
1. Dairy-Free: Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto
When you suffer from lactose intolerance, your body can’t easily digest lactose, a natural sugar found in milk, dairy and sugar products. You’ll want to look for pizzas, such as this one, that has no cheese. Or you should look for a cheese that is more easily digestible, such as soy cheese, or one with a lesser amount of lactose, such as cheddar, Parmesan or Swiss. Depending upon your degree of intolerance, you still may require a supplement, such as Lactoid®, which can help you digest the smaller traces of lactose still present in these cheeses.
2. Low-Fat: Beet, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza
If you suffer from high cholesterol, you need to watch your fat intake, especially saturated fat and trans fat. These types of fat can increase your body’s “bad” cholesterol, a contributor to strokes and heart attacks. Substituting goat cheese is not only delicious, it also offers a healthier, less-saturated fat option than other cheeses. If you’re seeking other cholesterol-friendly pizza options, shoot for reduced everything. Lots of veggies, reduced (or no) cheese, healthier meat options like turkey sausage and a thin crust or a flatbread.
3. Gluten-Free: Cauliflower Crust and Veggie Pizza
Sufferers of Celiac or Crohn’s disease know all too well the importance of eating the right foods. Celiac disease causes the small intestine lining to become damaged when gluten is eaten (found in wheat, barley and rye). Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, causes bowel and immune system issues. This pizza not only is rich with vegetables, but it also uses cauliflower for its crust. Cauliflower is a superfood, loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants – and it’s a great grain-free option.
4. Vegan: Zucchini, Tomato and Walnut Pizza
Those who follow a vegetarian lifestyle may choose to eat only plant products while others may include dairy, eggs, chicken or fish. Vegans consume no dairy, eggs or fish, only vegetables, fruits and grains. This pizza uses zucchini for its crust and is loaded with vegetables and nuts – and is completely vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
5. Mediterranean: Mushroom, Spinach and Chicken Pizza
Many people practice other food lifestyles that have dietary restrictions, such as the Mediterranean diet (high consumption of vegetables and olive oil). Luckily, there are numerous options for even the most restrictive diet. This healthy, thin crust pizza may become a weekly staple.
Breaking Down the Pie
You’re feeling adventurous and want to create your own pizza. There are so many healthy approaches to making pizza today. This list will help you experiment and put together the perfect pizza pie.
Some options worth considering for a crust include: Whole-wheat flour, tortillas, pita bread, matzo, cauliflower, zucchini, summer squash, Portobello mushrooms, quinoa or rice. Crust doesn’t have to be a starchy carb. Try a veggie crust for a tasty, diet-friendly alternative.
You can buy pre-made sauces, but these recipes go well beyond the jar (with a lot less salt): Sliced fresh, or sun dried, tomatoes, garlic coconut cream, salsa, pesto, pumpkin, garlic paste, mushroom tapenade, olive tapenade, hummus, carrot puree, refried bean dip, white bean spread or barbeque sauce. For a dessert pizza, try ricotta cheese with honey, cinnamon and sliced fruit on top.
Pizza toppings can range from sweet to savory, with numerous combinations, depending on your likes. Some toppings worthy of consideration include: chicken sausage (leaner than traditional sausage), tofu, beans, eggs, beets, lox, nuts, kale, spinach, arugula, capers, sweet potatoes, peaches, figs and grapes. If you can (and want to), add cheese. Try a tangy one for a change, such as goat cheese, gorgonzola or feta.
Salute the Slice
Pizza has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 6th century BC. Now, pizza is available from restaurants, stores or freshly made in your own kitchen. If you have dietary concerns, you may find the homemade variety is still the best since it allows you the most control over ingredients (and your health). Whether it’s a recipe from a foodie’s blog, cookbook, friend or health association, go ahead – salute the slice with your own personal pizza.