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How to Choose Healthier Pizza Toppings

Now you enjoy a slice of pizza without a twinge of guilt. It’s all a matter of choosing the right toppings.

Do you find yourself dreaming of hot pizza, yet hate the thought of blowing your healthy eating plan? Most people are quick to admit that eating a slice of greasy, cheese laden pizza isn’t the best choice from a health standpoint; but an occasional slice of pizza probably won’t hurt if you get it on a thin crust and go light on the cheese. Choose the right pizza toppings and you have the makings of a nutritious and guilt-free lunch. There are a variety of healthy pizza toppings you can choose from that are not only low in calories and fat, but nutritious as well. Here are some ideas.

Healthy Pizza Toppings: Meats

One way to reduce the fat and calorie content of pizza is to lighten up on the meat and go heavy on the vegetables. Instead of piling your pizza slice high with sausage and beef, use anchovies or shrimp instead. These choices will give you a healthy dose of omega-3’s to reduce inflammation and boost heart health. If seafood isn’t your style, try thin slices of low-salt, baked turkey or chicken instead. Even better? Go all veggie. Stay away from pepperoni, salami, ham, and bacon, no matter how tempting they may be. These choices are all high in fat and loaded with sodium.

Healthy Pizza Toppings: Vegetables

Most pizza lovers top their pizzas with onions and green peppers. To really boost the antioxidant power of pizza, add artichoke hearts, black beans, broccoli, capers, red peppers, roasted eggplant, roasted garlic, spinach, squash, or watercress for additional nutritional punch. Even better, choose them all. Add a few slivers of avocado. The monounsaturated fats they contain will help the phytonutrients in the vegetables be more easily absorbed. Don’t forget the mushrooms, particularly if you’re female. Button mushrooms have anti-aromatase activity which may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Go heavy on the lycopene-rich tomato sauce and you’ll be doing your heart a favor.

Healthy Pizza Toppings: Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are another source of antioxidants compounds. Some choices that are especially tasty on pizza are basil, cumin, garlic, rosemary, oregano, and pepper. Don’t forget to sprinkle on some chili peppers and chives for added flavor and nutritional punch. Resist the urge to shake on the salt. Chances are you’re not deficient in sodium.

Healthy Pizza Toppings: Cheese

This is one topping that can really make or break the calorie and fat content of a pizza. Instead of adding a high fat cheese such as cheddar, try feta, goat cheese, or parmesan instead. These choices are not only lower in fat, but they have a more distinct flavor which means you’ll need less.

Healthy Pizza Toppings: Other Suggestions

For added nutritional points, add a light sprinkling of almonds or pistachios for the antioxidants and heart-health monounsaturated fats they offer. Pine nuts are another good option. Studies have shown that pine nuts increase the release of CCK from the gallbladder which helps to make you full more quickly.

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