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Fit Family Challenge: The Perfect Pizza

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Americans order more than three billion pizza pies a year, probably because it is so easy to order in on nights you don’t want to cook or eat out. 

Half of the pizzas ordered have at least one meat topping although more than a third of pizza orders are for plain cheese. The problem with most delivered pizzas is that they are high in calories, fat and sodium. A 6” personal pie with pepperoni can cost you over 600 calories, 28 grams of fat and more than 1500 mg of sodium!

Lighten your pizza up by slightly modifying the cheese, loading up on veggies and choosing the right meat toppings.

When you order your pizza, ask them to use half the regular amount of cheese. You won’t miss it but significantly decrease the fat content. When making your pizzas at home, use part-skim mozzarella and/or parmesan (which has more flavor so you need less).

Load up on veggies (or fruit), which provide both nutrients and flavor. The most popular pizza toppings are mushrooms, onions, black olives, green peppers, pineapple and spinach but the only limit is your creative spirit.

Choose a low fat meat topping like ham, chicken or even grilled shrimp. Processed meats like pepperoni and sausage have been linked to certain cancers and are high in fat and salt.

Pizza dough is relatively easy to make but can also be bought ready to roll from the grocery store. If you are in a pinch, use a bagel thin, English muffin or toasted whole grain wrap as your base and go from there. Try some of these combos but don’t be afraid to experiment:

  • Ham and pineapple
  • Mushrooms, jalapenos and onions
  • Grilled shrimp, basil and pine nuts
  • Fresh chopped tomatoes, Kalamata olives and red onions
  • Broccoli and feta cheese
  • Roasted eggplant and capers
  • Grilled chicken, fresh spinach and a BBQ sauce drizzle
  • Sundried tomatoes, green olives

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