Healthy Ways to Makeover Your Pizza
Pizza on the South Beach Diet? You bet! In fact, pizza can be one of the healthiest meals to enjoy as long as you use the right ingredients. No matter what Phase of the South Beach Diet you’re on, pizza makes for a delicious, filling meal for lunch or dinner. Check out these healthy ways to enjoy pizza:
Phase 1 Pizza Ideas:
* Make a portobello “crust.” Meaty, flavorful portobellos make a great base for pizza toppings because they hold up well during baking. To prepare the mushrooms, gently wipe the outsides, then scrape out the gills. Rub the caps on all sides with some garlic-infused olive oil. Place the caps, cavity up, on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, then fill with the Phase 1 cheesy topping suggested below. Bake at 450°F for about 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Just before serving season with fresh or dried herbs of your choice, such as basil, oregano, or parsley.
* For a Phase 1 topping: Sprinkle each mushroom cap with some shredded or thinly sliced reduced-fat mozzarella. Top the cheese with tomato slices or choose a prepared tomato sauce to complete the pizza. Be sure to check the nutrition label on the back of all tomato-sauce products and avoid varieties with added sugars.
Phase 2 Pizza Ideas
Enjoy the Phase 1 pizza, above, as well as:
* Choose white whole-wheat flour to make your own pizza dough. Most pizzerias use white flour to make the pizza crust, but with white whole-wheat flour, you get the added health benefits of fiber, protein, and iron. And unlike regular whole-wheat flour, white whole-wheat flour makes for a softer, smoother-textured crust.
* Use vegetables for a topping. Vegetables are a healthier alternative to the fatty cuts of meat usually found on pizza dishes, such as pepperoni and sausage. Moreover, vegetables are a healthier choice because they are an excellent source of vitamins and disease-fighting antioxidants. Try topping your pizza with some reduced-fat cheese, then add some sliced zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, and/or chopped spinach. Bake, following the directions for your crust, being careful that the veggies don’t burn (cover the pizza with foil if the veggies are done before the crust).
* Make a mini pizza. For a quick pizza on a rushed night, use a whole-wheat pita, whole-wheat tortilla, or whole-wheat or whole-grain English muffin as the crust. Toast first, then top with Canadian bacon, turkey sausage, grilled chicken or shrimp, or tofu, for example, and return to the oven to heat through (and melt any cheese).
* Make a dessert pizza by spreading a toasted whole-wheat tortilla with a layer of part-skim ricotta mixed with a little sugar-free jam and some lemon zest. Scatter some fresh berries of your choice over the ricotta and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Phase 3 Pizza Ideas
Enjoy the pizzas on Phase 1 and Phase 2, above, plus:
* Try whole-grain frozen pizza crusts on occasion. These usually contain small amounts of white enriched flour for tenderness but are a great convenience. For a Hawaiian pizza: Make a thin-crust pizza and top with a thin layer of tomato sauce, shredded reduced-fat cheese, Canadian bacon, and pineapple.
Ami in OH