I’m from New York, but have lived in Massachusetts for over 15 years now, and one thing I miss from time to time is some thin-crust, NY-style pizza. While Massachusetts has some great things (like fresh seafood and my beloved Celtics), good pizza isn’t a strong point. Most pizza I have tasted in restaurants and pizza joints is overly cheesy, overly greasy, too refined, and leaves my stomach feeling as if I just ate a couple of donuts (not really how I want to feel from my meal). And I must admit, now that I have spent years eating whole grain pizza, even the NY pizza doesn’t really cut it for me.
So, to no surprise, I, like the rest of my family, prefer homemade pizza. Not only does it taste much better, it’s much healthier the way we make it (and it doesn’t have a crust saturated in grease).
What we do to make it healthy:
* Whole grain crust: Makes all the difference and is full of good flavor. With whole grain or whole wheat crust you have some options. First, check your store for pre-made, uncooked dough. Not only is it much cheaper than cooked pre-made crust, but the kids will have fun rolling the dough out. If you have access, Trader Joe’s has some good whole wheat dough and Whole Foods makes a black bean dough (really good!). If you don’t have either of those around, check your local grocery store for options. Most stores are increasing their whole grain foods and offer more options than ever before.
Another option is to purchase whole grain flatbreads and the like. They make great crusts!
If you have some time on your hands, you can always make whole grain crust at home with the right flour or prepared flour. Look for whole wheat pizza flour in your local store. If you decide to really make it from scratch, mix half whole wheat and half white flour (don’t use only whole wheat flour).
* Layers and layers of vegetables!: Rather than a pizza smothered in cheese and meat, try a variety of vegetables and use just a small amount of cheese. My personal favorites, sliced zucchini (especially grilled first if I have the time), broccoli, peppers, summer squash, and onions. Add some parmesan cheese to add good flavor and even some italian seasoning to the veggies.
* Don’t just eat pizza, add lighter fare on the side: Have salad and fruit with your pizza so you aren’t filling up on 4 slices. Have 2 slices and fill up on the lighter foods.