Can pizza be healthy? The answer lies in the toppings

Published on Jul 27, 2019 06:03 PM IST
Use mashed cauliflower for the base, opt for fresh toppings and say no to processed cheese. And if you’re ordering in, always get the thin crust, say nutritionists.
Hindustan Times | ByShweta Kushe

Think pizza and you think dough, cheese, meats. The way most people do it, it’s the ultimate junk food. But it doesn’t have to be.

One of the first principles of healthy eating is carbohydrates in proportion with physical activity. “Pizza is unhealthy if you are chained to your desk five or six days a week or lead an otherwise sedentary lifestyle,” says nutritionist Shikha Gupta.


What you put on your pizza, of course, decides whether it’s healthy or not. “Make it with more thought; skip refined flour for bajra flour, add sliced tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes, don’t use processed cheese and… ta da, you just made it healthy,” says dietitian Zubeda Tumbi.


There are substitutes for every calorie-laden element of the pizza. Mix and match at will to make it healthier.

Dough: Replace refined flour with bajra flour, almond flour, coconut flour, sorghum flour or banana flour. These flours are low on carbs, and higher in fiber and protein. You can also use mashed cauliflower as your base — a healthier option still, since it’s carb-free and rich in vitamins.

Sauce: Use fresh tomatoes to make your sauce, not canned. Spice your sauce with some finely diced capsicum, kale or basil for a healthy kick.

Cheese: Say no to processed and opt for parmesan. Pesto and tofu can be good healthy substitutes.

Toppings: Skip the red meats and opt for mushrooms, grilled white meat, beans, tofu or spinach.

Of course, it’s best if you swap the dough with cauliflower; the meat with broccoli and greens.

But even if you don’t, you can make a middle-of-the-road treat that’s actually not bad for you—as long as you have it as a meal and not a snack.

“At the very least, if you’re ordering in and all you have around you are pizza chains,” Tumbi adds, “always, always, get the thin crust.”

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