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How to Order a Healthier Pizza

With plenty of basketball games on TV this season, pizza is likely to be on many a dinner menu. Here are ways to make this old favorite healthier, nutritionists say:

Go for thin crust. It has fewer calories and carbohydrates than hand-tossed and deep dish crusts; stuffed crusts are the worst offenders. Some businesses and frozen brands also offer whole-wheat crusts.

Choose the right meat. Pepperoni, sausage and bacon are three of the fattiest foods around. Try grilled chicken, shrimp or turkey. If none of those flies with guests, go with Canadian bacon or ham.

Load up on vegetables. Some of the best options are olives, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. All are low in calories and high in vitamins and fiber. For sweet tooths, pineapple - a fruit - is a great choice.

Go heavy on sauce ... Tomato sauce is a rich source of antioxidants that may guard against heart disease and other health problems. It also is likely to include nutritious herbs and chopped garlic, which may help control cholesterol and protect against certain types of cancer.

... and light on cheese. Many of the calories and fat in pizza come from cheese. Order half the cheese or, as an alternative to cheddar, ask for a sprinkling of feta cheese.

Blot off the oil. Patting a slice of pizza with a clean napkin will soak up some excess fat.

Eat something healthy first. Snack on fresh fruit, vegetables or nuts before the pizza arrives so you're less likely to pig out.

Don't order a side. Just one cheese breadstick, for example, may pack 200 calories and 10 grams of fat.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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