Pizza is one of the most loved foods on the planet, but it’s not exactly healthy. Depending on where you get your pies from, one slice might contain between 200-500 calories, with the majority being carbohydrates and fat. If you have an insanely fast metabolism, that might not be a problem, but most people have to consider what they eat, and since it’s hard to eat just one slice, having pizza can quickly turn into a binge-fest.
If you love pizza but you don’t want to give it up, all you need to do is start making your own healthy pizza pies at home.
1. Get yourself a real outdoor pizza oven
First things first. In order to make a great pizza, it has to be cooked right. The oven in your kitchen will work, but it’s not going to bring out the full flavor potential. When you’re making pizzas with healthy ingredients and limited fats and oils, every bit of flavor enhancement counts.
With an outdoor pizza oven, you can cook your pizza with an open flame like all the best pizzerias in Italy. Wood-fired pizza ovens are considered the top-of-the-line because they create the best flavor, hands down.
If you don’t want to deal with getting firewood and maintaining the fire to cook your pizza, you can get a gas or electric pizza oven and still have a tasty pizza. It just won’t have that distinct flavor of having been cooked by an open flame.
2. Choose ingredients that cook well
Once you know how you’ll cook your pizza, it’s time to think about the ingredients you want to use to make your pies. Not everything that sounds good on a pizza will cook well. For instance, some vegan and vegetarian cheeses don’t melt well, and they don’t exactly taste good with the other ingredients. However, some brands make amazing vegan cheese, so don’t be afraid to try several types even if you don’t think you’ll like it.
If you can’t find a cheese you like, there’s nothing wrong with making a cheeseless pizza. Many people actually prefer pizza with no cheese, and it will still taste great.
As for other ingredients, make sure all your meat is pre-cooked, your veggies are drained and dry, especially fresh mozzarella if you choose to go with real cheese. You don’t want your pizza to come out all watery.
3. Use healthy toppings
It’s perfectly okay to pile all your favorite toppings onto your homemade pizza, especially since sourcing fresh, organic ingredients automatically makes it better than a commercial pie. However, if you’re really going for healthy, use healthy toppings. Maybe only drop in one fatty meat, like sausage, and make the rest veggies.
Healthy toppings can also make it possible to enjoy pizza when it’s not normally something you can eat. For instance, pizza can cause heartburn, but if you avoid the culprit ingredients, you can still make a tasty pizza without the consequences.
4. Make your crust ultra-thin
With commercial pizza, the majority of the calories and carbs come from the crust. Whether you like thin or thick crust, it’s loaded with carbohydrates and oil, especially if it’s stuffed with mozzarella cheese.
The best thing you can do to make your crust healthier is to reduce the amount of calories and carbs by making it thin. Granted, if you prefer a thick crust, plan on eating fewer pieces or making a smaller pizza.
5. Don’t try to imitate commercial pizza
Who doesn’t love a good slice of greasy pizza that leaves a stain on the bottom of the cardboard box, drips grease into your lap, and oozes more grease when you bite into the toppings? While this is definitely part of what makes pizza so tasty, it’s not a requirement, and if you try to recreate this experience with healthy ingredients, you’ll be disappointed.
Instead of attempting to rebuild a healthy version of your favorite commercial pizza, think of your healthy pizza as an entirely new creation – something you’re building from scratch that doesn’t have a template.
Once you start eating your own homemade healthy pizza, you probably won’t even want to eat commercial pizza anymore. As you stop eating foods with chemicals inside designed to make you addicted to the food, your cravings will disappear.
Also, tasting high-quality pizza made at home will be a different experience altogether. It’s like getting a fast food burger for $5 vs. getting one from a local steakhouse for $30. Once you taste the higher quality hamburger, the cheaper versions will only be tolerable when there is no other option.
Pizza can be healthy
If you’re trying to be healthy and thought you’d have to give up pizza forever, now you know how pizza can be healthy and delicious at the same time.