3 Tips For Healthier Pizza

by Lisa McCune MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Last Updated: February 3, 2021

Who doesn’t love pizza?! This Italian originated food is beloved for good reasons. It’s delicious and convenient. We get everything in one bite! Also, endless combinations of toppings mean it never gets boring. Traditional pizza is made of wheat-based dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings of choice. We typically won’t see pizza featured on any health food lists. It can be higher in saturated fat and sodium, which are recommended by the American Heart Association to decrease. With that being said, we believe that all foods fit, and that includes pizza! We can enjoy it as part of a healthy diet when considering these three things:
  1. Crust choice.
    Remember when hand-tossed pizza crust was our only option? Now there are many options like cheese-stuffed crust, seasoned crust, and pretzel crust. For a healthier choice, look for thin crust, flatbread, vegetable crusts (gluten-free friendly option), or whole wheat crust on the menu. These are lower carb and higher fiber choices than a traditional hand-tossed crust. Vegetable and whole wheat crusts provide heart-healthy fiber. Consuming a high fiber diet can help maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as support healthy digestion.
  2. Toppings & sauce.
    Pizza toppings can provide a great opportunity to increase the nutrition of pizza by contributing to the goal of eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Consider choosing one meat and focusing more on a variety of vegetable toppings to keep us satisfied. If you don’t love vegetables on pizza, add a side salad instead. When choosing meats, look for grilled chicken, Canadian bacon, turkey, or seafood for leaner options. To increase plant-based protein, try topping pizza with tofu! It is a healthier option to stick with the traditional tomato sauce or a pesto sauce rather than alfredo style sauces. Also, consider modifying an order by asking for light cheese or swapping sauces. Simple alterations can elevate a meal’s nutrition, ensuring it has a place in our food choices.
  3. Make your own pizza.
    Making pizza at home can save us money and gives us the power to control what we put in our pizza. This makes us more likely to make healthier choices than if we are ordering out. Preparing pizza can be a fun family activity. Each person can choose their own toppings! Try mini or personal pizzas if kids are helping with the preparation. This is a great way to introduce them to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Check out these healthier pizza components to try:

Pizza can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. For healthier choices, look for higher fiber or lower carb crusts. Focus toppings on a variety of vegetables and limit high-fat meats and prepare it at home most often. Keep those tips in mind and enjoy! Have more nutrition questions? Schedule a FREE video chat session with a Kroger Health dietitian here.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Lisa McCune MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Lisa McCune MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Teaching people about the positive things that food can do for the mind, body and spirit, and helping them understand that all foods can fit into a healthy diet is Lisa’s nutrition philosophy. She believes food should be exciting and fun! Lisa encourages celebration of non-scale victories, which focus on what good nutrition can do for your life beyond weight. She loves food, but also loves to break a sweat whether it’s cycling, walking her dog or doing CrossFit.