There's nothing quite like slicing into a pizza pie for a cozy night in, but unfortunately, all that oil, bread, and cheese can really add up, leading to excess calories that could pack on the pounds.
Plus, eating too many carbs and fats isn't good for your heart, and it can raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Yet, there's no reason to give up pizza—you can easily make your own slimmed-down version at home by substituting healthier items for traditional crust.
Cauliflower might taste a bit bland on its own, but when used as a crust with delicious, gooey toppings, it's the perfect fit. "This one is obvious, but you can puree raw cauliflower and mix it with egg and cheese to make a crispy cauliflower crust. This is much lower in calories and carbs than the traditional grain crust, and it offers plenty of fiber," she says.
Using whole grains over white bread for a crust provides staying power and essential vitamins and minerals. "I love this option because it still has a grain, but it's a whole grain with a ton of nutrients, like fiber and protein. You would make a spelt crust very similarly to a flour crust, with yeast, water and some sort of sweetener," she says.
"Another healthy grain option is sprouted grain crust. It has more of an earthy taste than the traditional white crust, but it's got more fiber and protein," she says. And, sprouted grain may have even more protein than traditional whole wheat, making it even heartier and more nutritious. "This recipe wouldn't differ much from your traditional pizza dough recipe," she says, so there are no cooking challenges, here.
Portobello Mushroom Caps
Ditch the "crust" altogether to save carbs and calories. "If you want to forego the crust all together, you can pile some sauce and cheese in a portobello mushroom cap and make a gluten-free pizza. Like cauliflower, this is much lower in calories and carbs and provides tons of fiber from the mushroom," she says.
"Like the portobello mushroom cap, you can use a slice of eggplant as the base of your pizza. If you want it to be a little bit chewy, I suggest throwing it on the grill for a few minutes first. Then pile with sauce and cheese and bake it," she says. Eggplant is full of antioxidants, to improve your skin, heart, and brain health.