If you’re trying to lose weight, you might think you have to give up Pizza. The principle of eliminating or restricting foods you love is not how I coach nutrition. I always say, it’s not about what you can’t have, but all the things you can have!
National Pizza Day is February 9th! Here’s why you should partake.
When you are educated on how food fuels us and have experimented with different foods, you will bask in what Whole30 founder, Melissa Urban, coined “food freedom.” The concept is that you can enjoy your favorite foods that may not be the most nutritious without guilt. It’s not a binge though… it’s in moderation and to slowly enjoy each bite with all your senses. To learn more, I recommend reading her book, The Whole30's Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food.
Pizza does have promising nutritional benefits. Let’s start with the sauce. One of the biggest health benefits of pizza comes from lycopene-rich tomato sauce, which recent studies have found may help protect against the development of prostate cancer. Next up, cheese! Cheese is a good source of protein and has vitamin B-12, calcium, vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals. However, make sure you enjoy it in moderation as it also contributes added fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. If you’re the type to top your pizza with some veggies you have even more added nutrients and fiber!
There are so many healthier options these days. At many pizzerias you can order thin crust and/or a variety of crust substitutes. From almond flour to cauliflower to chicken - all make a decent base. Sauces and toppings are now farm-fresh gourmet. In efforts to stay on trend with healthier lifestyles, pizza joints have upgraded menus to offer gluten-free, vegan, soy free, etc. Now, I’m not saying pizza is better for you with those labels…what I’m saying is that you can now be more conscious of what you are putting in your pie hole.
Ways to slide the scale from worse pizza choice to best:
- Make your own pizza at home (homemade is always better)
- Top with lean proteins rather than salty, cured meats
- Go easy on the cheese
- Pair your pizza with a side salad
- Drink 8oz of water with your meal
- Take a 10-15min walk after you enjoy your pizza
So there you have it folks. You can enjoy pizza on National Pizza Day and still achieve your body comp goals. You do not have to eliminate this food favorite.
To learn more about nutrition and living a healthier lifestyle, join my Nutrition LAB where we experiment to find what is best for YOU.