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Can Pizza Be Healthy?

Pizza is a classic for a delicious family treat.

A staple of Friday night dinners and a quick and easy “throw in the oven” evening meal, pizza is loved the world over.

But, is pizza healthy?

Of course, we know that a pizza takeaway is not particularly good for us. The caloric value can often be shocking when you’re placing your order at a large pizza establishment, and let’s face it, there’s not loads in the way of nutritional value to boast about.  

However, that doesn’t mean that pizza is completely unhealthy.

In this article we break down what you can expect in terms of calories from your average pizza, and answer the question: is pizza healthy?

What’s more, we’ll provide you with hints, tips and solutions to creating a delicious pizza the whole family will love, by keeping it healthier too.

Nutritional Breakdown of Pizza

For the majority of pizzas out there, especially when it comes to take-aways, the nutritional value isn’t great. 

The calories, saturated fat and sugar content is high on all three counts, so although it tastes great and is an exciting treat, it’s definitely not conducive to a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. 

Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional content of a simple Dominos medium Cheese and Tomato pizza with a classic crust [1]: 

  • Calories: 1614
  • Carbohydrates: 200g
  • Fats: 33
  • Protein: 67g
  • Sugar: 39g
  • Salt: 7g

This is not a great picture for just one pizza. The sugar and salt content are high, which can lead to inflammation while the high levels of saturated fats can also impact your cholesterol. 

Not to mention, if you suffer from IBS, this is going to have a big effect on that too. 

Plus, it’s worth mentioning this is essentially just a medium margarita. Once you start adding all the other ingredients pizzas contain, it can further increase those figures.

It’s also worth remembering that mass-produced pizzas often use over-processed ingredients where the majority of the nutritional value has been stripped away. Something we avoid at all costs here at Elevated.

Is Pizza Healthy? 

Now we know more about the nutritional profile of a generic and popular takeaway pizza, let’s take a look at what it all means for your health. 

Unhealthy Ingredients

Commercial pizzas often contain a variety of unhealthy ingredients that can contribute to poor health outcomes. Common culprits include:

– Processed Meats: Toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and bacon are high in saturated fats and preservatives, which have been linked to heart disease and other chronic conditions.

– Refined Flour: Most pizza crusts are made from refined white flour, which lacks the fibre and nutrients found in whole grains. This can lead to spikes in blood sugar and contribute to weight gain.

– Excess Cheese: While cheese can be a good source of calcium and protein, many pizzas use it excessively, adding high amounts of saturated fat and calories.

Fat, Sugar, and Sodium Levels

The nutritional content of pizza can vary significantly, but many frozen and takeaway pizzas have high levels of fat, sugar, and sodium, as we’ve seen above:

– Fat: A typical slice of pepperoni pizza can contain around 10-15 grams of fat, much of which is saturated. Diets high in saturated fat are associated with increased cholesterol levels and heart disease risk.

– Sugar: Pizza sauce from frozen or takeaway pizza often contains added sugars to enhance flavour. Even small amounts can contribute to the overall sugar intake, which is problematic considering the rising concerns over excessive sugar consumption and its links to obesity and diabetes.

– Sodium: Pizza is notoriously high in salt, with a single slice sometimes containing over 600 milligrams. High sodium content is very closely linked with cardiovascular issues, so it’s important to watch your intake .

Handmade Pizzas: A Healthier Option

Making pizza at home allows for greater control over the ingredients and can significantly improve its nutritional profile:

– Whole Grain or Alternative Crusts: Using whole grain flour or alternative crusts made from cauliflower or almond flour can increase fibre intake and lower the glycemic index of the pizza.

– Fresh, Lean Proteins: Opting for fresh, lean protein sources such as grilled chicken, turkey, or plant-based options like tofu can reduce the saturated fat content.

– Minimal Cheese: Using a moderate amount of cheese can decrease the saturated fat and calorie content.

– Homemade Sauce: Creating your own sauce with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and herbs can eliminate added sugars and reduce sodium levels. For example, our Tomato Fondue Brilliant Base makes a delicious, nutrient-dense alternative to overly sugary takeaway options. 

– Abundant Vegetables: Topping pizza with a variety of vegetables like spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions adds vitamins, minerals, and fibre, enhancing the overall nutritional value.

Pizza’s healthiness largely depends on its preparation and ingredients. While many pizzas we buy from the frozen aisle or order to our homes can be high in unhealthy ingredients, fat, sugar, and sodium, making pizza at home allows for healthier choices that can turn this popular dish into a nutritious meal.

By opting for whole grain crusts, lean proteins, minimal cheese, and plenty of vegetables, pizza can be a part of a balanced diet.

Healthy Pizza Recipe

Here at Elevated Food For Life, we’ve created our own quick, easy and healthy pizza recipe, using our own dough along with a delicious, nutrient-dense tomato fondue brilliant base too.

So, with these two as your foundations, you can still enjoy a delicious slice of pizza with your family, whilst ensuring they’re getting plenty of nutritious value from it too!

And, the whole thing creates a medium sized pizza that comes in at just 848 calories. That’s half of the Dominos example we showed you earlier on in this article! 

It also has a fraction of the sodium and sugar intake too, with all the ingredients being fresh, natural and full of nutritional benefit to you and your family.

You can also mix up the toppings too if you wish, so you’re creating something you can all enjoy as a treat, without the guilt! 

Discover the full recipe right here:

Elevated Super Quick Pizza

This offering combines two of our Brilliant Bases: our quick pizza dough and our tomato fondue. The pizza dough recommends organic flour and the fondue is packed with vitamins and minerals thanks to its high vegetable content. Plus, it offers way lower calories, saturated fats and sugars then a takeaway.

Our Healthy Pizza Tips

If you’ve made your own pizza, we’ve compiled a few extra tips on how to make it even more healthy as you’re putting the toppings on: 

Use Less Cheese: Reduce the amount of cheese. Alternatively, try using a strong-flavoured cheese like Parmesan, which allows you to use less while still getting great flavour.

Load Up on Veggies: Add plenty of vegetables as toppings. Peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes are all great options that add nutrients and fibre to your pizza night.

Opt for Lean Proteins: Use lean protein sources like grilled chicken instead of high-fat meats like regular pepperoni or sausage.

Add Healthy Fats: Include toppings with healthy fats that are good for your body, such as olives or avocado slices, in moderation.

Control Portion Sizes: Make a smaller pizza or cut larger pizzas into more slices to help control portion sizes.

Use Fresh Herbs and Spices: Enhance flavour and nutritional value with fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme instead of relying on extra cheese or salt.

Elevate Your Health

Unlock Access to Hundreds of Recipes With Step-by-Step Video Instructions

Rather than just provide you with 100’s of delicious recipes, you get a whole lot more from Elevated. We are a nutrition focussed recipe subscription. This means all of the recipes we offer are absolutely packed with health-boosting ingredients that will help you live life better.