Sunday, February 9, is National Pizza Day, a celebration of all things deep pan, stuffed crust, thin and crispy or calzone, to name a few variations of the popular dish. Restaurants around the country take part offering discounts and offers – it’s a veritable pizza feast – literally!
We might joke about pizza being healthy because it has veg (and someties fruit) on it, but it’s true, you can make a pizza much healthier if you try. Terri-Ann Nunns, the expert and founder behind the Terri-Ann 123 Diet Plan, says that when it comes to pizza, there are ways to enjoy a treat without ruining your weight loss efforts completely.
Terri-Ann says: ‘Pizza is often people’s favourite ‘naughty’ treat and it’s true that this food type can be very calorific and high in fat. However, living a healthy lifestyle is definitely not about swearing off your favourite foods completely and actually, enjoying a slice of pizza now and again is not going to stop you from losing weight. The key is to be smart about it, and work out swaps and tricks to still get your favourite pizza treat – with less of the guilt. The result? You definitely can eat pizza and still lose weight.’
Make clever swaps
The best way to sustain a healthy lifestyle is to feel as if you aren’t depriving yourself, which is why enjoying the occasional treat, takeaway or meal out with friends is so important. In recent years, chain restaurants and big-name takeaways have got much better at offering lighter options on their menu, making it easier to enjoy a treat while still sticking to your diet.
Next time you’re out, try these healthy swaps to enjoy a treat with none of the guilt:
Swap Pizza Express Romana Padana (1,108 calories) for Pizza Express Wholemeal Leggera Padana (587 calories)
Swap Ask Italian Caprina (863 calories) for Ask Italian Light Caprina (382 calories)
Swap Domino’s American Hot large pizza (1,669 calories) for Domino’s Vegi Classic personal pizza (499 calories)
Make your own
Enjoying pizza every day isn’t a healthy option (although many of us wish it was!), but if you do want to enjoy the taste of pizza more often, why not create your own lighter version at home, with your own pizza dough? Terri Ann says: ‘Try adding tomato puree, lower fat cheese or mozzarella and your favourite toppings to a wrap or pitta bread base for a lighter option.’
Be wise with your toppings and extras
‘It’s often the added extras on our favourite pizza that transform it from a slightly unhealthier meal to a catastrophic blow out that sees you using up your entire daily calorie allowance in one meal.
Extra toppings, pots of dipping sauce and stuffed crusts can all add extra calories to this already unhealthy treat, so be wise with your choices and you could save serious calories,’ says Terri Ann. ‘For example, a medium Domino’s Pepperoni Passion pizza with a stuffed crust and a pot of garlic and herb dipping sauce contains 2,345 calories compared to the 1,064 calories in a Domino’s Margherita pizza, which has none of the added extras.’
Be smart with your portion sizes
We’ve all got to the end of eating a huge pizza and felt absolutely stuffed – because the recommend portion size isn’t the entire pizza. It’s why eating an entire pizza can often set you back 2,000 calories or more, and why the last slice of pizza is nowhere near as enjoyable as the first.
One of the best things you can do to still enjoy the taste of pizza on a diet is to reduce your portion sizes. Swap a large Margherita Pizza Hut Classic pizza for an individual pizza size and you’d save 964 calories while still feeling like you’ve eaten a full pizza. If you have more will power, share a large pizza with your partner or save half for the following day. You could even add a side salad to your half to make it feel more like a full meal.