It can be done…
We get it – it’s hard to eat healthily all the time. If you auto-dial or Uber Eats your local pizza place once a week, you’re not alone: according to a Euromonitor International Consumer Foodservice report a few years back, pizza was South Africa’s best-loved takeaway/home delivery fast food, with double the sales figures of any other takeaway.
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The problem: our fave fast food is loaded with fat and sodium. But you don’t have to forgo this tasty and convenient meal option altogether.
“The right toppings can transform this fattening grease bomb into a healthy meal,” says dietician Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet. “When making a pizza, use plenty of tomato-based sauce (you can add chilli, basil or chives for more flavour) and veggies,” suggests WH weight-loss advisor Elienne Horwitz. “Then lightly sprinkle mozzarella or feta over it.” Top a shop-bought wholewheat crust or cheeseless build-your-own takeaway with one of these combos.
1. Barbecue Chicken Pizza
You don’t have to weigh down your slice with chorizo or extra cheese to score a hearty serving of satiating protein. A reduced-fat hard cheese such as Slimmer’s Choice Cheddar, Gouda or mozzarella (around 13 percent less fat than regular cheese) and skinless white meat chicken with a coating of tangy barbecue sauce keeps you satisfied – so you won’t be tempted to polish off the rest of the pizza by yourself.
Make it: Toss a third of a cup cubed grilled chicken breasts and two tablespoons diced red onion with one tablespoon barbecue sauce. Spread evenly over one slice ready-made pizza base. Sprinkle with one teaspoon grated reduced-fat cheese. Bake in a 190°C oven for five to seven minutes, or until cheese melts.
Per slice: 1 212kJ, 9g fat (2g sat), 500mg sodium, 32g carbs, 4g fibre, 22g protein
2. Ricotta-pear Pizza
If you like your slice on the sweet side, there’s another option besides Hawaiian style (that’s pineapple and ham for the uninitiated). Try some low-fat ricotta sweetened with a touch of honey and slices of fibre-filled pear for a healthy meal that tastes like it could be dessert.
Make it: Spread two teaspoons orange marmalade over one slice ready-made pizza base. Top with a quarter cup ricotta and spread well to cover. Top with a third of a thinly sliced Bosc pear. Drizzle with one teaspoon honey and bake in a 190°C oven for five to seven minutes, or until warmed through.
Per slice: 1 254kJ, 5g fat (1g sat), 310mg sodium, 54g carbs, 6g fibre, 10g protein
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3. Parma Ham And Goat’s Cheese
Hold the sausage. “Parma ham is much leaner and provides the same meaty satisfaction without all the kilojoules or grease,” says Gans. Trade mozzarella for goat’s cheese or feta and you’ll get a mouthful of creamy goodness and 11 percent fewer kilojoules.
Make it: Layer one slice ready-made pizza base with half a cup diced tomato and half a cup chopped rocket. Top with 14g thinly-sliced Parma ham. Sprinkle with one tablespoon crumbled goat’s cheese or feta and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with one teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and bake in a 190°C oven for five to seven minutes, or until cheese melts.
Per slice: 1 254kJ, 26g fat (5g sat), 700mg sodium, 30g carbs, 15g fibre, 13g protein
4. Greek Pizza
“Feta on pizza is a really smart choice,” says Gans. “You only need a little to get a lot of flavour, which results in a huge kilojoule saving.” Then there’s a generous serving of veggies, including roasted red peppers and up more than 40 percent of your daily vitamin C.
Make it: Top one slice ready-made pizza base with two tablespoons drained roasted red peppers, five halved rosa tomatoes, five halved and pitted kalamata olives and one teaspoon feta crumbles. Bake in a 190°C oven for five to seven minutes, or until cheese melts.
Per slice: 1 090kJ, 12g fat (3g sat), 710mg sodium, 32g carbs, 6g fibre, 8g protein
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5. Spinach Salad Pizza
You could order a side salad with your pizza – or you can just pile your greens on top instead. This combo features crumbled goat’s cheese, which adds a big kick of robust flavour for a fraction of the fat you’d get from a standard mozzarella-loaded piece. And best of all, there’s zero cooking required.
Make it: Toss one cup baby spinach with half a cup sliced red grapes, one teaspoon toasted pine nuts, one tablespoon crumbled goat’s cheese and one tablespoon light balsamic vinaigrette. Top one slice of a ready-made pizza base with the salad.
Per slice: 1 200kJ, 10g fat (3g sat), 590g sodium, 45g carbs, 6g fibre, 8g protein
6. Cheesy Fennel
and courgette pizza Fennel is one of the ingredients that give Italian sausage its very distinctive taste. Sprinkle it, fresh or dried, onto your pizza and you’ll get the flavour you crave minus all that unwanted fat and bloat-inducing sodium.
Make it: Sauté half a cup diced fennel, three-quarters of a cup grated courgette and a pinch of chilli flakes with one teaspoon olive oil in a small pot over medium heat for five minutes, or until fennel softens. Spread over one slice ready-made pizza base. Sprinkle with two tablespoons reduced-fat grated mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 190°C oven for five to seven minutes, or until cheese melts.
Per slice: 1 090kJ, 12g fat (3g sat), 370mg sodium, 32g carbs, 6g fibre, 11g protein
Try this easy beetroot chocolate cake for dessert. More