This is another great blog post contributed by dietetic student Beryl Henzy. Check out her tips and helpful facts on the pizza you buy and what you can do yourself at home.
It’s pizza week. And we do love our pizza. It’s everywhere: fast food, sit down restaurants, school lunch, and frozen foods. In fact, the American Dietetic Association’s research shows that pizza is the #1 calorie source of solid fats among children ages 2-18. Solid fats contain saturated fat, which is generally recognized as a contributor to heart disease and obesity. Pizza is the second source, after whole milk, for intake of empty calories. Yes, pizza and whole milk carry a wallop of calcium, but full fat dairy products also carry a wallop of calories, saturated fat, and sometimes sodium. In a November article The New York Times reported on the activities of Dairy Management, a marketing arm of the US Department of Agriculture. While the USDA has been promoting consumption of low fat dairy, private companies such as Domino’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Pizza Hut have benefited from advertising campaigns run be Dairy Management highlighting new, cheesier products. For example, half of a Domino’s American Legends Wisconsin six-cheese pizza contains 860 calories (43% of daily recommended), 24 grams saturated fat (160% DV), and 1980 milligrams of sodium (86 % DV).
But we love pizza. Should we try the frozen pies? Half of a Digiorno Four Cheese Frozen Pizza will cost you 930 calories, 33 grams of fat (50% of daily recommended), 15 grams of saturated fat (100% DV), and a whopping 2550 milligrams of sodium (out of 2300 recommended). Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine Four Cheese Pizza may be better, with only 360 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat, and 690 mg of sodium. It’s an individual size, so you can’t eat too much, but it is small and not very tasty.
I made a 12-inch pizza at home last night and split it between two of us. You could easily make 2 pies in a standard oven and feed four people. I used a store bought whole- wheat pizza crust called “Top This”, made by a Rhode Island company. I topped it with homemade tomato sauce- just sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, stir in some dried Italian seasoning and hot red pepper, then a tablespoon of tomato paste. Throw in a can or two of whole or crushed tomatoes and heat and stir until it is saucy enough for you. I used to use low fat mozzarella, but I found that Narragansett Creamery fresh mozzarella is low in saturated fat and tastes better. I used half of the ball of mozzarella. All in all, my portion of pizza cost 530 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, and about 400 mg of sodium. It was packed with calcium, fiber, protein, and Vitamin C. It took about 30 minutes start to finish, which is about the same time it takes for the pizza guy to show up. We added a simple green salad, and tucked into a healthy and delicious pizza dinner.
When I have vegetables from the farmer’s market, I’ve tried some tasty combinations:
- Roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, and pine nuts
- Sautéed yellow squash and ricotta cheese
- Steamed spinach and feta cheese
- Roasted bell pepper, chicken sausage, and mozzarella
Making pizza at home is fast, easy, and puts control over your diet in your hands, not Pizza Hut or DiGiorno’s.
For more healthy pizza ideas check out this link. Scroll to find the heading Pizza Week for healthy pizza recipes: http://food.unl.edu/web/fnh/january