If you think pizza isn't allowed on a diet, then you haven't tried my favorite diet-friendly pizza tricks yet. Like most of you, I love pizza but I don’t love how bloated and heavy it makes me feel, so I created a few little tricks that many people use and now enjoy it whenever I want. These diet-friendly pizza tricks are easy to do and can really help reduce the amount of starchy, refined carbs, excess fats, and unhealthy ingredients found in commercial or frozen pizza products. Try these tricks out this week and even throw a pizza party with your friends to get them in on the fun!
1. Low-Carb Crust
Low-carb pizza crusts are incredibly popular right now and they’re one of the most important parts of making a diet-friendly pizza. To make a low-carb crust, you can use either ground flax, mushrooms, eggs, cheese, or some people even use cauliflower. Here are several ideas if you need great options: lowcarbdiets.about.com.
2. Use Plain Tomato Sauce
Instead of buying pizza sauce, which is often full of sugar and added sodium or oils, just use tomato sauce. It will still give you that rich marinara flavor and you can add dried Italian herbs to it in order to ramp up the flavor. Feel free to buy a generic brand if you like, though organic tomato products are the healthier option.
3. Veggie It up
Focus on creamy, dense veggies to add to your pizza. This will keep it healthy while still making it satisfying. I like cubed sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, olives, artichokes, and mushrooms. Other great options are peppers, broccoli, and even shredded carrots. Experiment with new flavors and try different ones each time you make your pizza to see which ones work best for you.
4. Use Fat-free Cheese
A sprinkle of cheese isn’t going to hurt you, so feel free to add some fat-free mozzarella to your pizza. You can also try nutritional yeast flakes if you’re vegan. Nutritional yeast is dairy-free but still lends that cheese-like flavor. Even a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese won’t hurt since it’s low calorie, but it is high in sodium so use it sparingly. If you're sensitive to dairy, then feel free to use a vegan cheese but remember those are often high in fat and excess calories.
5. Don’t Forget the Herbs
As I mentioned, herbs will make your pizza dish taste better, so I suggest just using a simple Italian blend, which will give you all the pizza flavors you’re looking for. You can either add it to the tomato sauce before spreading it on the crust, or simply sprinkle it on top of the sauce.
6. Add Some Lean Protein
You can keep your pizza as a veggie pizza or use lean protein, which will help keep you fuller longer. Select lean choices such as lean ground turkey, shredded chicken, salmon, or lean beef instead of fatty ham slices or pepperoni.
7. Avoid Oil
Whatever you do, don’t use oil in your recipe. Oil can be healthy from the right source, but it’s not a whole food or the best way to lose weight. You also don’t need it to make a pizza recipe delicious.
Remember not to eat the whole pizza and stop when you're full so you don't overdo it. Serve your pizza with a side salad, avoid croutons and excess cheese, and choose a light balsamic vinegar dressing instead of creamy dressings that are higher in saturated fats. Healthy pizza is totally doable and easy to make, so give it a try! What do you put on your homemade pizza?