Choosing a healthy slice of pizza

You don't have to eliminate pizza to maintain a balanced diet.

When watching your weight or calories, pizza is usually one food that is avoided. Pizza can be a healthy choice if prepared with low-fat and salt alternatives. Pizza can be made high in fiber, calcium and protein. Making your own pizza at home allows for more nourishing ingredients, starting with the crust.

Using whole wheat flour for the crust would increase your fiber. Other crust options include whole wheat pita bread, English muffins or tortillas. Avoid extra cheese or better yet, omit the cheese or substitute with parmesan or ricotta, instead of mozzarella to reduce the calories.

A typical slice of pizza is about 300 calories, but it is the second and third slice that adds the calories. Increasing your slice with fiber-rich vegetables will fill you up and avoid those additional portions. Including a salad on the side can also help manage those extra slices. Pizza does not have to be excluded from your menu; just include infinite nutritious options.

Here is a recipe from a Michigan State University Extension program, Eating Right is Basic for homemade pizza dough that can be combined with a variety of toppings.

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup warm water (105 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:

  1.  Dissolve yeast in warm water
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients and beat vigorously 20 strokes
  3. Let rest about 5 minutes
  4. Makes two 11-inch pizzas

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