Americans love pizza … especially when faced with turkey all weekend for Thanksgiving. It’s one of the busiest eve’s for pizza restaurants, coming in neck-and-neck with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!
I went to Crust Stone Oven Pizza in Bettendorf, Iowa, for some gourmet pizza. The atmosphere was certainly upscale compared to a pizza joint, and the smells were tantalizing.
Pizza is a great choice for pre-holiday get-togethers. It’s easy and delicious, and ordering it keeps the kitchen clean.
Of course it has its dietary downside, so you just need to eat smart and enjoy.
I see the sadness (and maybe a few tears) in my clients’ eyes when I discuss the nutrition pitfalls of pizza: high saturated fat, high sodium, high calorie, and low fiber.
However, all foods in moderation is one of my mottos. Pizza can be included in a healthy diet, and you can even take steps to make a pizza meal healthier.
I reviewed the menu to find 3 different kinds of pizza crust: deep dish (avoid this to save on calories), Neapolitan crust (thinner crust like pizza in Naples), and a thin crust (crispier option). I opted for the Neapolitan crust, which was soft and delicious.
All pizzas have the “build your own” option which allowed me to pick veggies instead of high fat meats.
6 tips to make pizza dining healthier:
1. Think Sides: Order a side salad with dressing on the side or grilled vegetables to fill up your plate with more than just pizza. You should strive for half of your plate being veggies, which will fill up your stomach so you don’t overdo the pizza. You’ll gain the added benefit of more nutrients and fiber in your meal.
2. Think Thin: Order thin crust over thick crust to save substantial calories.
3. Think Veggies: Opt for a build your own pizza with veggies. My daughter and I chose spinach and onion.
4. Think Lean: Avoid high fat meats such as pepperoni and sausage. Choose leaner options such chicken or Canadian bacon. You can also ask for the chef to use less cheese.
5. Think Slow: Make your meal last and eat slowly. Listen to your body and stop eating when you are satisfied.
6. Think Water: Drink water instead of sugary beverages or alcohol when you are eating out.
Remember, you don’t have to eat all of the pizza. Take some home for a yummy left-over meal. You might just welcome it after all Thursday’s turkey!