But, wait! Why can’t you?
The real problem is that the concept of “diet food” has given “healthy food” a bad rap. In fact, maintaining a healthy weight simply means eating well and moving regularly. Eating well does not have to mean “serious food restrictions.” It’s more about re-training the way you think about food: Prioritizing ingredients with optimal nutritious value to promote overall health, vibrancy and longevity.
Eating well means learning how much is enough, and eating with intention so you can accurately detect when your body is full (as opposed to “shoveling it all in,” which inevitably results in consuming more than you really wanted or needed).
Healthy, Yummy Pizza is Not an Oxymoron!
It’s possible to enjoy delicious pizzas whenever you want; the key is to learn a new way of designing your pizza using the most nutritious ingredients out there.
Case in point: The following homemade pizza recipe combines four healthy ingredients and still yields cheesy, delicious pizza goodness. Best of all, these pizzas are quick and easy to assemble and can be modified to suit your dietary preferences, restrictions, and so on:
Ingredients For Healthy, Yummy Homemade Pizza
- Whole-Wheat English Muffins (you can use a gluten-free version if you prefer)
- 1 Tablespoon of Marinara (compare labels & look for brands that use whole ingredients, minimal sweetener, and lower sodium levels).
- 1/2-Ounce of Shredded, Skim-Milk Mozzarella Cheese (you can also use dairy-free, vegetarian or vegan cheese)
- 1/2-Ounce of Sliced Turkey Pepperoni (vegetarians can substitute a veggie or two of choice – thinly slicked onions, mushrooms, bell pepper or tomato are all tasty options)
Directions For Healthy, Yummy Homemade Pizza
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Cut the English Muffin in half, and toast both halves on a baking sheet until they’re crisp (about 3-5 five minutes).
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the marinara evenly over both halves.
- Sprinkle each one with cheese and top with turkey pepperoni and/or some thinly sliced veggies.
- Return baking sheet to the oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese looks melted.
Now sit back, relax and enjoy your healthy, yummy pizza without a shred of guilt. Enjoy it alone or accompanied by a green salad, and celebrate the fact that eating well can taste that delicious!
What Makes These Yummy Pizzas So Healthy?
There are a handful of things that make these pizzas as good for your body as they are for your taste buds.
They’re Nearly Half the Calories. If you use the four primary ingredients, these two pizzas are only 194 calories – total. Compare that with a single slice of Papa John’s Original Pepperoni Pizza, which registers at a whopping 330 calories..that’s a huge difference! The pizzas in your average pizzeria use whole- or low-fat cheese and regular pepperoni, which are loaded with saturated fats (more on that later). This jacks the calorie count way up, while filling your body with stuff it doesn’t need.
They’re Low in Saturated Fats. Saturated fats are your body’s enemies. These are the fats primarily found in animal meat (particularly beef and pork) as well as whole-milk dairy products. While moderate amounts are okay, medium- to high levels of saturated fat consumption lead to weight gain, high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and high-blood pressure. Chronic overindulgence in these foods will also increase your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Thus, the consumption of skim-milk cheeses and turkey pepperoni, both of which are low in saturated fats and LDL, reduce your saturated fat intake and improve your health.
They’re Protein-Rich. Protein is an essential ingredient, and one that is gaining increasing levels of attention when it comes to thoughtful eating habits. While protein is necessary for your body to build and repair tissue cells–including muscles, bones and connective tissue–it’s also required for hormone, enzyme and other biochemical production. If you’re watching your weight, protein also takes longer to digest, so eating protein-rich foods will sustain you for longer periods of time before the next hunger pangs strike.
Whole-Grains Are Awesome! Most pizzas are made using a crust baked from refined, white flour, which doesn’t have much protein or the nutrients typically found in whole-wheat grains. Whole-grain flour, on the other hand, is higher in protein. Since it’s more complex, it takes a little longer to digest, which also helps to satiate hunger for longer stretches. Several studies have established a correlation between whole-grain diets and lower body mass indexes (BMI).
Finally, the complex carbohydrates inherent in whole-grain flour take longer to convert into glucose, which helps maintain more consistent, balanced blood sugar levels, especially beneficial for those who are pre-diabetic or diabetic.
They’re Loaded With Nutrients. These quick, healthy pizzas are absolutely loaded with nutrients and anti-oxidants, starting with their crust and leading right up to the turkey pepperoni on top. Let’s take a look at each one:
- Whole-Grain English Muffins. In addition to the aforementioned protein, whole-grain flour also contains fiber, magnesium, manganese, copper and folic acid. It contains B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, iron and calcium.
- Marinara. Marinara sauce is made from very concentrated tomatoes, using a reduction process. In your tablespoon of yummy pizza sauce, you’re getting vitamins A, B6, C and K. You also get folate, niacin, copper, niacin, potassium, and some fiber. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a celebrated anti-oxidant that, among other things, fights free-radicals that lead to cancer and aging effects. Many marinara sauces are made with the addition of other healthy vegetables so you’ll benefit from their nutrients as well.
- Skim-Milk Mozzarella. This cheese has all the health benefits of a whole-milk product – protein, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, B12 and trace minerals, without all the fat and LDLs. Your tongue won’t even notice the difference, but your heart and mid-section will thank you.
- Turkey Pepperoni. Turkey is a wonderful substitute for meat eaters who are trying to cut back on their saturated fat and red meat intake. It has a ton of protein in a small amount of calories, and turkey also contains vitamins B6 and B12, niacin, choline (required to make certain neurotransmitters), selenium and zinc.
Have Your Pizza & Eat It Too With This Healthy, Yummy Homemade Pizza Recipe
This homemade healthy pizza recipe is chock-full of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, without all the calories, and it tastes amazing to boot. Use this recipe to add some variety to your diet while maintaining the pursuit of your personal health goals.