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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
whole wheat pizza crust

Pizza, Pizza!

Posted by Jenna Smith -

When I was a kid, I remember being asked what my favorite food was. Without missing a beat, I'd respond, "pizza!" Every Friday was pizza day in the cafeteria and I would bet that this was always the busiest of days for the school cooks. Even to this day, pizza is still one of my favorites. But as a dietitian, I know that it's not exactly the healthiest meal... Unless...

You make it yourself! Homemade pizza allows for you to choose healthier alternatives to the high fat crust, cheese and toppings. Sure it takes a bit more time than having a pizza delivered to your door. However, the nutritional savings can be astronomical. Three slices (4.3 oz) of a restaurant's hand-tossed pepperoni pizza can be over 1,000 calories, 40 grams of fat (65% of the daily value) and over 2,700 milligrams of sodium (115% of the daily value)! Homemade pizza can be half that!

If you or your child has a craving for pizza, try the recipe below for a quick and simple whole grain pizza crust. Then, make your own sauce. Canned pizza sauce generally has added sugars and sodium. You can easily make you own by combining 1 can (15 oz.) of no added salt tomato sauce and 1 can (6 oz.) of no added salt tomato paste. Then just add your spices, such as garlic powder, oregano, basil and black pepper. No heating is required, but I would let the mixture sit for at least 20 or 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. You could always make the mixture the night before and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.

For the toppings, choose vegetables such as bell peppers, onion, artichoke, spinach and broccoli. For a meatier pizza try Canadian bacon, lean ground beef, chicken or turkey pepperoni. Top the pizza with a little part-skim mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven. Use simple side dishes so that the whole meal isn't just pizza. Try adding a fruit, lettuce salad, or other vegetable as a side dish to make a complete meal.

If you have kids, get them involved in helping you prepare the pizza. They'll love putting the toppings on! Pizza doesn't have to be an unhealthy meal.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (Printable PDF)

1 (0.25 oz.) package fast-rising active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105°F-120°F)

2 cups whole wheat flour

¼ cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for about 10 minutes until creamy. Then, add honey. In a separate bowl, combine flour, wheat germ, and salt. Stir yeast mixture into flour mixture, stirring well until combined. Cover and set in a warm place to let rise, about 10 or 15 minutes. Pat dough onto a floured pizza pan and bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Then, add pizza sauce and toppings and return to the oven until desired crispiness is achieved.

Yield: 12 slices

Nutritional Analysis per serving: 90 calories, 1 gram fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 200 milligrams sodium, 17 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams protein

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