Like most of you, I love pepperoni pizza. It’s gooey and yummy and filled with delicious bursts of flavor. It also happens to be made up of all four of the major food groups. So why can’t pepperoni pizza be considered healthy food?
When I was in school – and I’m sure most of you will remember this, as well – we had health class. And in that class, we were taught all about the “four food groups“. We were encouraged to incorporate at least 3, if not all 4, of those food groups into each and every meal. Doing so would make that meal good and healthy for us.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what a slice of pepperoni pizza has to offer. You have your “grains” in the crust, your “fruit/vegetable” in the tomato sauce, your “dairy” in the cheese, and your “protein” in the pepperoni. What’s not to love about that?!
Pepperoni Pizza Nutrition Facts
While it’s true, pepperoni pizza does contain all four food groups, it also contains a lot of things we shouldn’t be consuming in large quantities. The sodium alone is astronomical. Cheese contains a great deal of sodium, as does most pizza crust, standard tomato sauce and, of course, the pepperoni.
According to FatSecret.com, a typical slice of pepperoni pizza from a 14″ (medium) pie—which is not very filing by itself, I might add—has 683mg of sodium. It also happens to contain approximately 298 calories, 33.98g of carbohydrates and 12.3g of fat (5.26g saturated fat, 2.061g polyunsaturated fat and 3.728g monounsaturated fat).
There’s simply no way to call that healthy food. But what if we knew…
How to Make A Healthy Pizza
In reality, pizza can be healthy for you. It all depends on what you load on top of it. The crust is going to contain some sodium and carbs – that’s a given. But instead of pouring store-bought pizza sauce on it, what if you took actual, fresh tomatoes and pureed them into your own sauce? How about purchasing low-sodium, low-fat mozzarella cheese to put on top? And instead of loading it up with pepperoni, why not a few pieces of shredded, grilled chicken breast?
The fact is, just about any meal you can think of can be turned into healthy food, so long as you put better ingredients into it – and eat a proportional amount of it, of course.
But, I’m Still Hungry…
A healthy slice of pizza, similar to that described above, may not be enough to fill you up, but you can always substitute healthy side dishes to compensate for it. A salad, fruit slices or steamed vegetables could do the trick. And while you’re at it, consider a glass of low-fat milk to wash it down.
Not only does milk provide the body with much-needed vitamin-D and calcium to keep bones strong, it’s also a great way to take up extra room in your stomach when eating a smaller portion of food than your eyes are hungry for.