Healthy Eating

A Foolproof Guide to Healthy Homemade Pizza

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By Bethany Thayer, MS, RDN

Is there a more popular food in America than pizza? While getting a pie delivered to your door or visiting your favorite pizzeria is a time-honored American tradition, overindulging in restaurant pizza too often is not a great idea for your waistline. But homemade pizza done right can be a perfect canvas for incorporating lots of veggies and lean protein into your dinner. The combinations are limited only by your imagination. Hosting a make-your-own pizza night is a fun way to hang out with friends or get your kids involved in meal prep.

Here are some key tips and ideas for how to make your DIY pizza night a healthy success.

Base: Save time by building the base of your pizza on an easy-to-find, pre-made type of “flat” bread from the grocery store. Using a whole-wheat or whole-grain version increases the fiber and nutrients into your pizza from the bottom up.

  • Pita bread
  • Lawash
  • Tortilla
  • Naan
  • English muffin
  • Bagel half

If gluten is an issue for you, use a crust made of cauliflower, for example, or personal pizzas on portabello mushrooms, slices of eggplants or halved zucchini.

Sauce: A tasty sauce can really make a pizza but overdoing it with sauce can unnecessarily add salt, fat and/or calories — depending on what kind of sauce you’re using. So choose wisely the type and amount.

  • Canned low-sodium tomato sauce with Italian seasonings
  • Low-sodium BBQ sauce
  • Reduced balsamic vinegar
  • Pesto (homemade or jarred)

Vegetables/Fruit: The good news about vegetables and fruit on your pizza is that this is where you can let yourself go — use as many as you want! Get creative with the combinations you use. Find whatever looks good in the fridge or buy something special just for your pizza.

  • Red onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh tomatoes (sliced cherry or grape tomatoes)
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Bell pepper
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cauliflower
  • Pineapple
  • Thin-sliced apple or peach
  • Dried or fresh figs
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Artichokes
  • Diced, roasted butternut squash

Protein: Take your pizza to the next level by adding some form of lean protein to help keep you satisfied.

  • Diced cooked chicken
  • Lean cooked turkey sausage
  • Prawns or shrimp
  • Chopped nuts (pine nuts, pistachios, etc.)

Cheese: Gooey cheese can be the best part of a pizza but you don’t want to overdo it. It adds saturated fat, calories and sodium to your pie. Be careful to use just enough to add flavor and hold your other toppings in place.

  • Part-skim mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Pepper jack
  • Feta
  • Goat cheese

Spices/Herbs/Etc.: Add flourish to your pizza with extra flavor boosters like these.

  • Olives
  • Capers
  • Roasted garlic
  • Chives
  • Herbs – basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano
  • Fresh red or green chili peppers

Related Topic: Family Meals – How Eating Together Boosts Health

Check out our cooking demo videos with simple, delicious recipes developed by Henry Ford registered dietitian nutritionists.

Looking for more info and want to make an appointment with a registered dietitian? Call 1-855-434-5483 or email ContactUs@henryfordlivewell.com.