So, you’re rushed, and you don’t know what to do for dinner tonight? How about a healthy pizza? We have “Pizza Night” once a week in my home. My daughter loves to join in the fun of preparing a healthy version.
New research from The Journal Appetite shows that pizza is one of those foods of which many of us have a hard time controlling our intake. According to the same journal, preparing your own pizza helps slow eating and control intake. The American Dietetic Association says that foods like pizza make up almost 60% of the average American’s daily caloric intake. The ADA also recommends that 55-60% of your calories come from carbohydrates (carbs). Why not make this knowledge work for you by preparing a pizza that is both delicious and nutritious?
After your workout, pick up a whole wheat Boboli pizza crust, a few ripe tomatoes or some low sodium (140 mg or less) tomato sauce, 1 onion, and low-fat shredded cheese. The high fiber in a whole wheat crust increases satiety through the release of CCK, a hormone that decreases appetite. The protein in the low-fat cheese controls NPY, a hunger hormone, that when coupled with stress and/or a high fat diet causes fat storage in the abdominal region. The calcium in the dairy has been shown in many studies to up fat burn and lower waist circumference. Low-fat and fat-free dairy are also key in controlling calcitriol, your fat-storing hormone.
As a rigorous exerciser, I like to up my energy by increasing my iron intake. To do this, you can add to your pizza about 2 cups of fresh spinach that has been lightly sautéed in a bit of olive oil (1 teaspoon is plenty). Add a bit of fresh garlic, if desired. Garlic contains allicin, a proven fat fighter! The vitamin C in your pizza’s tomato sauce helps your body absorb the iron from the spinach! Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a proven cancer fighter, and vitamin A carotenoids, which help protect your skin from UV damage.
Cut the pizza into smaller slices so you can have two slices! Remember, about 1/6 of a Boboli crust equals 1 carb serving, so cut it into twelve slices for kid-friendly serving sizes that won’t go to your waistline. You will still stay within your recommended range of intake and get to savor pizza without losing control. Pair with a side salad to fill up on healthy fiber; use balsamic vinegar as dressing to control your blood sugar.
This is a win-win recipe. Try it post-workout to replenish your glycogen stores (fuel in your muscles) and to aid in protein synthesis (muscle sculpting). Remember, you have a 45-60 minute window for this after exercise, so this fast, easy meal is perfect! Get creative and make your own recipe if you wish.
Reduce stress and eat healthfully by incorporating this recipe or one of your own into your diet about once per week!
Sandra’s Healthy Pizza
- 1 Boboli whole wheat crust
- 3/4-1 package low-fat mozzarella cheese (Watch the sodium, look for around 140 per serving. Sargento shredded reduced sodium mozzarella is a good choice.)
- 2-3 tomatoes or about 1 cup of low-sodium tomato sauce
- 2 cups lightly sautéed spinach
- 1-2 cloves of sliced fresh garlic, sauteed with spinach if desired
- 1 small onion, sliced or chopped
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, sprinkled on before cooking
For an extra protein punch, toss on some leftover grilled chicken breast (chopped)—about 1 cup is plenty. To keep this meal vegetarian, add 1 cup of veggie crumbles instead of chicken.
Put all ingredients on the crust. Drizzle your cooking pan with about 1 -2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, and bake the pizza according to the Boboli directions. For an added calorie-burning perk, flavor with crushed red pepper after cooking. These olive oil and crushed red pepper will increase satiety and metabolism.