When working towards health goals many food items just seem taboo. It is true some foods are higher in saturated fat, sugar, and calories than other foods but you don’t have to omit them if it’s something you love. People can maintain their weight loss and health goals more effectively with a plan that includes moderation and balance.
Let’s take pizza as an example. I have never met anyone who does not enjoy pizza but we are all well aware that pizza, with its white flour crust and melted cheese and high fat meats can add up in calories, saturated fat and sodium fast! It’s not really something classified as healthy food. It can, however, be part of your diet with a balanced approach and you can even try adding some healthful components.
1). Choose thin crust
Thin crust pizzas are a better choice than pan pizzas. The pan pizzas have more fat added to the crust making it more rich and crusty but also adds about 80 more calories per slice. Also, the more crust you have the higher the glycemic load of your pizza, how quickly the carbohydrates you eat turn into blood sugar.
2). Avoid cream sauce
Using traditional tomato sauce or pesto is the best way to go. Many gourmet pizzas offer a variety of sauces now but they can add up in calories. Stick with a traditional tomato sauce and you’ll also add lycopene, a phytonutrient shown to be beneficial for heart health found in cooked tomato products.
3). Pizza size
Have you ever noticed that your pizza slice is a different size at different restaurants? This is so important because one slice of pizza at your favorite parlor may actually be 2 servings. One medium slice pizza should be around 6 inches long. You don’t have to break out the ruler but be aware of how big your slices are.
4). Have a side dish
Traditionally, when you eat pizza that is all you eat with that meal. This can lead to excess calories with large portion sizes. Order a side salad with your pizza so you can eat less servings of pizza and still have a complete meal. Having a side salad instead of an extra slice of pizza saves around 100 calories and adds healthy nutrients and fiber.
5). Avoid the high fat toppings
Pepperoni and sausage add a lot of calories to pizza. Choosing Canadian bacon, vegetables, or just plain cheese can help you avoid excess calories, saturated fats and sodium.
6). Do add vegetables
Mushrooms, peppers, onions, basil…all plant foods are a good choice to top on your pizza. Heck, we even recommend adding a salad on top…tastes amazing with a pesto sauce.
Pizza meal makeover:
Original pizza dinner
3 slices of pan pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni
12 ounce soda
Total: 1140 calories
Pizza dinner makeover
2 slices of regular crust pizza with tomatoes and mushrooms
1 side salad with ranch dressing
Total: 530 calories
Second pizza dinner makeover
2 slices of thin crust pizza with tomatoes and mushrooms
1 side salad with ranch dressing
Total: 470 calories
The moral of this article is not that you have to count calories feverishly nor do you have to give up higher calorie foods. It is all about balance and moderation. Small changes add up. Try a few new ideas. You may find you enjoy that thin crust pizza or veggie toppings more than your old favorites.
About the Blogger:
Meri Raffetto is the founder of Real Living Nutrition, an author, triplet mom and dog butler. Learn more on our team page.