Of all fast foods, pizza may be the most dreaded when it comes to eating out on a diet. Making healthy pizza can seem impossible when they usually arrive dripping with cheese and processed meats. However, there are a number of ways to make that pizza fit into your diet.
Customize Your Pizza Base
When ordering your pizza, don't be afraid to ask for changes. If you get them to halve the amount of cheese, you'll reduce the calories considerably. Change it to a low fat mozzarella or even Parmesan and you'll cut them even more. Increase the pasta sauce if you want more flavor; it's full of cancer-fighting lycopene from tomatoes.
Ask for a thin crust pizza and don't be tempted by the fancy stuffed crusts, which can add more than 150 calories per slice. A thin crust will also lower your carb count. If they have a whole wheat option, that's even better. Ask for one of the smaller pizzas, as it will help you to control your portion size.
Choose Your Toppings Wisely
Many of the calories in pizza come from the processed meats that are often used on them. These meats add a lot of fat to the pizza as well. If you can't do without them, stick to only one type, and ask for half the amount. Better yet, ask for chicken or prawns instead.
Load up on the vegetables. Not only will they have fewer calories than other toppings, they also contain a lot of fiber which will fill you up faster and keep you full for longer. Try to use a variety of vegetables to get a wide range of nutrients, many of which have cancer and cholesterol fighting qualities. If you like spicy food, be sure to ask for jalapeno peppers on your pizza. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which has been shown to speed up metabolism to help you burn more calories.
Watch the Extras
Many of the extra options at a pizza restaurant are deep fried or otherwise contain a lot of extra fat with few nutrients. Garlic bread is a classic example of this, with one slice containing up to 150 calories. In contrast, buffalo wings contain around 50 calories per wing, and are a source of protein which will keep you feeling full longer than carbs. Better yet, go for a salad, with the dressing on the side (to be used sparingly) and skip the guilt altogether.
Order a sugar free drink to go with the meal. The best option is an unsweetened ice tea, which contains many health benefits, including antioxidants that can help slow the aging process, fight free radicals that can cause cancer and reduce cholesterol levels. Plus, it's calorie free. Juices can also be a good option for drinks, if they are available, particularly vegetable juices.
Eating out at a pizza restaurant doesn't have to blow your diet. Make healthy choices and you'll be able to enjoy yourself while knowing that you're still working toward a healthy lifestyle.