She Said: Is Pizza Healthy?

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By Giovanna Gatto

Managing Editor – Editorial

As an avid health nut with a fried food soul, I find this week’s topic very appetizing.

Pizza is the Italian staple that has been Americanized into our country’s weekly diet. You can top it with what you want, slice it up and share with some friends. However, is this classic Friday night meal healthy?

While this can be answered simply by pulling up the nutrition facts, I believe that it is possible to make a healthy pizza. Now, I will stop myself there because I am sure you are already thinking, “Make a pizza healthy? Why in Paula Dean’s name would you make anything so indulgent healthy?”

So I am kindly asking you to sit back grab a slice and explore all of the options when it comes to enjoying pizza.

Traditionally, pizza is topped with tomato sauce and cheese… lots and lots of cheese. While tomatoes are packed with vitamin C and cheese is a great source of calcium, the fat content weighs out the health benefits. That being said, traditional pizza does not provide you with the nutrients that you would need to successfully hit your daily green goal. I am sorry, I know that the facts can be painful.

Yet, a solution to this would be to experiment with making your pizza! Alternate pizza crusts and toppings could make this classic treat a go-to meal that will up your health game.

A popular Pinterest recipe is a homemade cauliflower crust. If you are too lazy to make the crust yourself, the holy land that is Trader Joe’s has a frozen option that will still let you top the pie with anything you like.

If you don’t want to stray from a traditional pizza crust then toppings are the way to up your game. After the crust of your choice is prepared and ready to be topped, it is time to pack on the veggies! Spinach and ricotta cheese is one of my favorite options. A great way to change this up is to buy fat-free ricotta and be very liberal with the spinach! Personally, I like white pizza best, but adding some tomato sauce too will bring in the traditional pizza style while sneaking in some extra veg.

Now that you know some new ways to bake a pizza that your body will thank you for, it is time throw out all of my health knowledge and defend the greasy goodness.

Pizza is not just a meal, it is a snack, is a 3 a.m. treat and most importantly it is breakfast, especially after a night of chilling in the refrigerator.

For many years I embarrassingly bloated my pizza by crumbling up a handful of napkins and patting away all of the flavor goodness that dripped from my pie. However, I have recently returned to the motherland and I am now loading up on my pizza grease and all of the health benefits that come with it.

Pizza has a very important place in my heart. While it is one of my favorite foods, it is also the food of my heritage. Recently, I took a DNA test and discovered that I am 72.5% Italian.

So, denying pizza as an important element on the food pyramid would just be wrong. However, the other 27.5% knows that my health is important and that greasy food is not a way to love my heart… but is a way to love my soul.

So eat that 6th slice. Whether it is jam-packed with veggies or dripping with grease, take a slice and remember that there are some nutrients in there… somewhere.

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