When selecting a crust, thin and crispy generally is lower in calories - but not necessarily lower in the percentage of calories from fat than the thick and chewy versions. Whole wheat crusts provide additional fiber, but are sometimes higher in fat than crusts made from all-purpose white flour. Avoid varieties made with croissant-type doughs. These are highest in fat.
When selecting frozen pizza, read the nutrition facts label so you can select ones with the highest nutritional value.
If sodium is a concern, pizza is probably not your best bet. Most varieties contain at least 400 milligrams per two-piece serving and many contain over 1,000 milligrams. Again, the nutrition facts label can help with the selection.
Some pizzas, particularly frozen, are topped with cheese substitutes. While these are often lower in fat than real cheese, they may also be lower in calcium. Look at the label for the notice, "contains 100 percent real cheese," or check the ingredients list. If something other than real cheese is used, the term "imitation cheese" or "cheese substitute" will appear.
Pizza is a way of life today. It used to be a snack food that only the young enjoyed, however, its popularity has multiplied. Small pizzas are served as delicious appetizers and large pizzas with a variety of toppings are often dinner's main course. By making appropriate choices, pizza can be a part of a nutritious diet.
With pizza as a staple in many families' diets, homemade pizza is a great choice. Homemade pizza contains a variety of ingredients, making it as creative as the imagination will allow.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (substitute whole wheat flour for 1/2 of the all-purpose flour; this will increase the fiber content of the crust)
1 package quick-rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola, olive are good choices)
In mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast and salt; mix well. Add very warm water (120 to 130 degrees) and oil. Mix by hand until almost smooth. By hand, gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a firm dough. Cover; let rest 15 minutes before shaping.
Divide dough into two parts. With greased fingers or well-floured rolling pin, prepare dough to fit pizza pan. Top with sauce, toppings and cheese. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until edge is crisp and light brown and cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Makes enough for 2 12-inch pizzas.
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt (can omit)
1 10 3/4-ounce can tomato puree
Mix all ingredients together. Makes enough for two 12-inch pizzas. One teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion can be substituted for the oregano, basil, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
Top sauce with chopped green peppers, sliced mushrooms, chopped onions, cheese of all kinds, ground turkey, chicken or beef and vegetables of your choice.
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Lynn F. Little is an extension educator, family and consumer sciences for University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.