the healthy boy

Food Rx: A Health(ier) Pizza

You’re reading The Healthy Boy, a living well series from Adam Reynolds. We’ll be following along as Adam eats and exercises his way through a healthier lifestyle, providing fitness tips, delicious recipes, and nutritional advice.

Who doesn’t love pizza? That crunch you get as you bite into a crispy crust followed by an overflow of cheese and sauce is enough to make you roll your eyes into the back of your head with enjoyment. The problem is we all know our favorite piece of pie comes with a whopping load of calories and sodium, white processed refined carbohydrates, not to mention more saturated fat than what is recommended to be consumed in an entire day. Just one piece can potentially ruin any healthy eating plan and could see your figure go from the size of a lettuce munching Kate Moss to french fry fanatical Tyra Banks in just a few bites. There is, however, a solution.

Lets take a look at the calories and nutritional information in some of our favorite pizzas:

But who can stop at just one slice?

Throw in a large soda, some hot wings or some bread sticks, and you could potentially be eating the equivalent of two to three days worth of calories in just one sitting. Maybe you only down a couple of pieces of pizza or aren’t that concerned with calories, so then lets take a look at the ridiculously high levels of sodium. Our bodies only need around 500mg of sodium per day to survive, and the maximum recommended daily intake is 2400 mgs per day. As you can see, just two slices of cheese pizza will have you almost reaching this limit in one sitting.

You may be thinking: “I’m young, I don’t need to worry about sodium until I’m older” or “My blood pressure is fine and this doesn’t concern me.” But it should, and here’s why: Excess sodium courses through your body like shards of glass, shredding your arterial walls to pieces, creating hypertension, cardiac and vascular damage, and causing your body to hold onto water. What happens when you hold onto water? You get bloated, your skin turns pinkish, and your body holds onto fat leaving you looking like a Hollywood starlet after a big night out on the town.

So how can you still enjoy eating pizza but avoid all the unnecessary calories, excess sodium, fat and refined carbohydrates? Make your own! Healthy Boy has a wheat pizza recipe that is quick and easy to make, doesn’t require you to be a hairy Italian expert pizza tosser, and will leave you trim and healthy and walking down that catwalk in no time. Check it out.

Ingredients

• Whole Wheat Flour, 3 Cups
• Active Dry Yeast , 1 Package (found in the baking section)
• Olive Oil, 2 Tablespoons
• Sugar, 1 Tablespoon
• Salt, 1 teaspoon
• Very Warm Water, 1 & 1/4 Cups

Yields: 4 – 8 pizza crusts (depending on how thick you like your crust)

Directions

1. Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl and stir to dissolve. Stir in half of the flour and let sit for 10 – 20 minutes (the longer the better).

2. Stir in the salt and the remaining flour until you get a kneadable dough. It may get a little sticky at first and require a little elbow grease, but bear with it for a minute or so and your ball of dough will appear.

3. Sprinkle a little flour on a hard surface (so the dough doesn’t stick) and knead for about 5 minutes or so or until it gets elastic. Use your hands, knuckles in a rocking and rolling motion to knead it. Have fun with it.

4. Dive the ball into 4 – 8 pieces, shape each piece into a ball, place into individual bowls and cover with a clean damp towel or cloth. Now you need to let it rest and rise. The more you let it rise, the fluffier the pizza crust will be. If you are impatient, leave it for 10 minutes, if not, leave for around an hour.

5. Take one of the balls and put onto a floured flat surface and use your knuckles to rock out the dough to make into a flat crust. If you have a rolling pin, then flour and use that. Once again, you can determine the thickness of the crust. Repeat with other dough balls, or put them in the freezer so you can use at another time.

6. Brush each side of the crust with oil, and place on a baking sheet.

7. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

8. Pace your favorite sauce and toppings on your pizza. You can use pre-made tomato sauce, marinara sauce or low sugar BBQ sauce. Throw on some lean protein like chicken and layer with some vegetables and some cheese. The options are endless and you can design it to your liking.

9. Cook at 500 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes or until dough is cooked through and toppings are crispy.

Note: If you are using full fat cheese, only use a little bit and don’t overdo it. If you are using low fat cheese make sure you keep an eye on it as it doesn’t melt like full fat version and may burn if left in too long.

This recipe is very basic and you can add anything you to want to it. Add garlic powder, herbs and spices to create different types of crusts. You can even use it to make bread, calzones and other healthy baked goods.

Enjoy!