Pizza is a staple on fast food menus around the world, so they’re not usually included in any diet book.
But a nutritional scientist and chef has now revealed that you can make pizza into a healthy meal by making just a few simple tweaks.
From opting for a thin crust to choosing a lower-fat cheese, these are the very easy ways you can eat a pizza without the guilt or the grease.
Pizza can be a healthy meal if you add plenty of vegetables on top, such as peppers (pictured), opt for a thin crust and cut back on the cheese
Toral Shah told Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) that if you’re ordering from a takeaway, you should blot away any oil, eat from a plate as it will make you feel fuller quicker, and avoid fatty toppings.
And if you’re making your own, she says opt for a wholewheat flour when making the dough and make your own tomato sauce for the top.
Here are her top 12 tips for making pizza healthy.
WHEN ORDERING OR BUYING A READY-MADE PIZZA
Peppers, olives and lean meats are all excellent healthy toppings, but avoid fatty ones such as pepperoni
1. DON’T EAT FROM THE TAKEAWAY BOX
Eating food from a smaller plate tricks the brain into thinking you have eaten more, so you will feel fuller more quickly, according to Toral.
2. ORDER THIN CRUST
Deep-pan pizzas are more calorific and usually come with more fatty toppings and cheese, so opt for a thin crust.
3. CUT SLICES SMALLER
Cutting up slices into smaller chunks works in the same way as eating from a plate – it will trick your brain into thinking you have eaten more.
4. AVOID CERTAIN TOPPINGS
Add plenty of vegetables to the top of your healthy pizza, such as spinach and tomatoes (pictured)
Steer clear of fatty sausages, pepperoni, extra cheese, stuffed crusts and anything that isn’t going to provide you with a nutritional benefit.
5. ADD MORE HEALTHY TOPPINGS
Pile your pizza up high with plenty of vegetables and you could easily have between seven to nine portions in one meal. Aubergines, courgettes, onions, tomatoes, peppers, olives are all fantastic toppings in terms of nutrition. For extra protein, add Parma ham or another lean meat like turkey.
6. BLOT AWAY THE OIL
Most takeaway chains use hard cheeses to top pizzas with that can release a lot of oil. Each teaspoon of oil has up to 4.5g of fat in it, according to Toral, so blot as much away as you can.
7. ORDER LESS CHEESE
You can usually order extra when visiting a pizza chain so you should be able to request half the portion too. This will reduce the calorie count of your pizza considerably as you reducing the amount of fat in your meal.
WHEN MAKING YOUR OWN
If making your own pizza, use wholewheat flour as it contains more nutrients and use fresh mozzarella instead of a hard cheese as it’s less fatty
1. USE FRESH BUFFALO MOZZARELLA
Most pizza chains use a hard cheese that can contain up to 45 per cent fat. Not only will using fresh mozzarella taste better, but it only contains 22 per cent fat. Other lower-fat cheese options include goat’s cheese, ricotta, or feta.
2. TOP WITH GREENS
Try adding spinach, kale, chard and rocket to your pizza to give you a nutritional boost.
3. USE WHOLEWHEAT FLOUR
When making your dough, opt for a wholewheat flour, as it’s less starchy than white flour, which means the body is less likely to convert it to sugar so quickly. Wholewheat flour also contains more nutrients.
4. MAKE YOUR OWN TOMATO SAUCE
Ditch the jars of tomato sauce, which often contain high amounts of sugar, and make your own using a tin of chopped tomatoes or passata. You can even add in carrots, peppers or other vegetables to pack it with even more nutritional value.