It’s a rarity to meet someone who doesn’t enjoy eating pizza. While most people assume that all pizzas are loaded in fat and calories, and can’t fit into a healthy diet, they are wrong. Pizza CAN be part of a well-balanced diet.
It’s easy to overeat at a pizza party, especially when half a pizza is within an arm’s reach. What is your typical portion size – 2 slices, 4 slices, 6 slices? Do you even remember how many slices you ate the last time you ordered pizza?
There are a few tricks you can incorporate into your eating behavior to help you enjoy pizza without gorging.
- Leave the “Clean Your Plate” club. Just because there is half a pizza sitting in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat it all. Even if there is just 1 slice left, if you are not hungry any more – try putting it in the refrigerator or freezer for another time.
- Don’t look at slices of pizza as single units that you have to finish once you start eating one – think about it – pizza slices come in drastically different sizes at different pizza restaurants – an equally large pie could be cut into 6 pieces or 12 pieces – you want to cut a pie into many small slices so you don’t think that digging into one large slice means you should finish it. On the bright side, if you have leftovers, the pizza party continues the next day!
- When you pick up a slice, try cutting it into small bite size pieces. Chew each bite slowly. And order a salad to satisfy your appetite with a balanced meal. Pizza is a rich meal – if you are cued in to your stomach, a little will go a long way.
- When ordering a pizza, make smart decisions. What are your favorite toppings? If you like meat, maybe choose one meat topping rather than three and add vegetable or fruit toppings.
- What about the crust? If you buy whole grain bread for your sandwiches, maybe you should request the thin crust or whole wheat option at the pizza place.
Pizza can be a part of a balanced diet. There are many benefits to pizza. The crust provides you with energy and possibly fiber, the tomato sauce offers you vitamins, minerals and the antioxidant lycopene (which has been shown to prevent cancer), cheese is a great source of protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids and vegetable and fruit toppings can contribute to your vitamin, mineral and fiber intake. Sometimes, less is more. With this in mind, leave the “Clean Your Plate” club, cut your pizza into bite size pieces, and maybe add a green salad to boost the nutritional content of the meal.