I’m a firm believer that eating well takes into account more than just the nutrients your foods provide. Eating well means enjoying the foods you eat too.
Often when people are looking to eat well, pizza is often one of the first foods to go OR one of the foods people feel bad about enjoying. Often it’s because we’ve heard these foods are too high in fat or calories or we feel like we can’t eat them in proper portions.
Believe it or not, pizza on its own won’t wreck your health. In fact, it may actually do the opposite – supporting better health by making it easier to eat well. After all, if you already enjoy it, odds are good you can discover ways to add value to it, benefiting both your taste buds and your wellness overall.
Instead of eliminating these foods from your meal plan, why not consider the amazing possibilities each provides? By focusing on increased food variety at each meal, you’ll naturally find yourself eating well and setting yourself up for success.
Creative ways to add value to your favorite pizza:
Heavy on the veggies please. It’s no secret that vegetables are often the most challenging food group to incorporate at meals and snacks, but with pizza, it couldn’t be easier! Consider your favorite pizza the perfect canvas for veggies you love or veggies you want to try. From the more traditional – onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and olives – to the more unique – spinach, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, artichoke or even Brussels sprouts – pizza toppings can be a great way to experiment with a variety of veggies you may enjoy.
Zesty herbs and spices. If you are making your pizza at home, you could add herbs and spices to your sauce; but even if you’re ordering take out, you can add value to your slice by sprinkling various herbs and spices on top of your pizza too. Garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme are some more traditional herbs you can try; however, you may have fun experimenting with cilantro or dill too!
A side that packs a punch. Another great way to help maximize your pizza-themed experience is by incorporating sides that can help balance out your overall intake. Again, the lightness of vegetables can help balance out the heaviness of the pizza, so filling half your plate with a crunchy green salad might be the way to go. At my house, chopped raw veggies and extra marinara sauce for dipping are a kid-crowd favorite. And although not a vegetable, cottage cheese has also become a classic side dish for many of our quick and easy meals.
Tomato and basil. Let’s be real – you may not like the fact that I’m messing with your pizza. That’s okay too. Remember, the nutritional quality of food is just one aspect of eating well and it’s up to you to figure out how you’ll balance your eating between nutrition and enjoyment. For my more resistant-to-change eaters, consider starting with a super simple addition – fresh tomato slices and basil on the top of your next pizza pie. This won’t change the flavor of your pizza too much, but will allow you to take advantage of yet another opportunity to provide your body with nourishing foods it needs.