Published September 08, 2012
Many people automatically consider pizza one of the top foods to avoid on a fat loss or healthy diet program. However, if you learn to make healthy topping choices, this does not have to be the case. By choosing correctly, pizza can actually be a well-balanced choice that supports your goals of building lean muscle mass or stripping off that last layer of body fat to reveal a set of ripped abs.
Here are the top 10 best nutritional pizza toppings that you should consider.
Ham is one of the best protein choices to add on: It's lower in fat than sausage, ground beef or crumbled bacon, and also contains more protein. With about seven grams of fat per three ounce serving, it fits nicely within your daily fat budget too.
9. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is often overlooked but is a great alternative to regular cheese. It's higher in protein and lower in fat, plus Parmesan cheese will offer a boost in calcium as well. While it won't provide the same texture as regular mozzarella cheese would, it's a more nutritionally ideal choice.
If you're making the pizza at home, toss on reduced fat Parmesan cheese to take this benefit even further.
If you're craving something sweet, rather than finishing the meal with dessert, top the pizza with some pineapple.
One cup contains over 100% of your daily recommended intake of manganese, which is a nutrient that plays a role in energy formation of the body. Finally, pineapple is also a good source of vitamins C and E, which support healthy eyesight and a strong immune system.
7. Low-Fat Cheese
If you can't do without stringy cheese on your pizza, using low-fat cheese boosts the nutritional quality while bringing the total fat and calories down. Low-fat cheese is higher in protein, thus, a good option when trying to cut back on your meat consumption. One cup of shredded low-fat cheese will provide about 203 calories and 8 grams of fat.
6. Extra Tomato Sauce
To add more flavor to your pizza, add extra tomato sauce. It's a rich source of lycopene and may help prevent cancers of the lungs, stomach and prostate gland. At only 79 calories per whole cup, it supports your goal of getting lean.
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Crushed garlic will also add a high dose of flavor to your pizza without providing significant calories as half an ounce is just 21 calories total. Crushed garlic will provide the nutritional benefits of promoting good cholesterol levels, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, and helping to decrease the risk of heart disease.
4. Diced Chicken
For a low-fat protein source, you really can't beat diced chicken. Many pizza places offer this as a topping that you can request; or, if you're preparing your pizza at home it can be added yourself. Be careful of ordering a chicken pizza at a pizza restaurant, because these will typically come with cream sauces that contain too much saturated fat and calories.
Another smart topping to add to your pizza to boost its nutrition and flavor are mushrooms. These contain just 15 calories per cup and 2.2 grams of protein. While that may seem like a minuscule amount of protein, it puts them at about 50% total protein content. Mushrooms are another food that's recommend for males to use to help prevent prostate cancer and will also supply a high dose of selenium to protect against free radicals.
Known to be one of the most nutritional vegetables, tossing broccoli on your pizza is a wise move. Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate, along with many other minerals and vitamins.
Finally, the No. 1 most nutritional pizza topping is spinach, packing a powerful nutritional punch. One of the nutrients found in highest concentrations in spinach is vitamin K, which is important for making sure the blood clots effectively.
In addition to this, spinach contains over 13 different flavonoid compounds that work to help prevent the occurrence of cancer.
So, don't avoid pizza any longer. Just start making nutritional pizza topping choices that will help make this once-taboo dish a part of your usual diet.