EatingWell's Pepperoni PizzaDiet fads may come and go, but I know that I can always stay at a healthy weight by eating foods I love. I try to make most of my food choices smart ones but there's a place for pizza in every diet plan. No food is off limits as long as I keep calories in mind (and remember that 3,500 extra ones will cause me to gain a pound).
Here are my 4 favorite tricks for keeping the weight off:
1. I seek out yummy recipes that seem decadent but actually are low in calories and packed with healthful ingredients. One of the quick low-cal dinners I've been making a lot recently is Pepperoni Pizza (see recipe below): its cheesy, saucy topping hides the fact that it delivers only 280 calories per serving. (And it provides a healthy 25 percent of the daily value for calcium and it takes only about a half hour to make! What's not to love?)
2. I know how many calories my body needs and generally what that looks like in a day of eating. If the pounds start creeping on, I write down everything I eat to make sure I'm hitting my target.
3. Whipping out measuring cups or a kitchen scale at every meal and snack simply isn't my style. So I use other tricks to keep my portions in check. For example, I know that my soup ladle is 3/4 cup and, if I use it to serve up my chili, two scoops equal a satisfying 1 ½-cup portion. I eat ice cream out of reusable plastic containers designed to hold exactly 1/2 cup of food. (I fill them right to the top.)
4. I've learned what reasonable portion sizes look like on their own (e.g., 3 ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards)-and on my plates. One serving of Cheerios (love 'em!) fills my cereal bowl about halfway.
These tricks help me to eat a diet that satisfies me physically and emotionally-without breaking the calorie bank.
EatingWell's Pepperoni Pizza
Pepperoni pizza gets a healthful makeover with whole-wheat pizza dough and a flavorful tomato sauce that, thanks to the addition of pumpkin puree, provides extra beta carotene and fiber. We've topped the pie with low-fat turkey pepperoni, but if you like, use your favorite sliced vegetables instead.
1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough (see Shopping Tip, below), thawed if frozen
1 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni (1/2 cup)
1. Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Whisk pumpkin puree, tomato sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl until combined.
4. Spread sauce evenly over the baked crust. Top with mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni. Bake until the crust is crispy on the edges and the cheeses have melted, about 12 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 280 calories; 6 g fat (3 g sat, 2 g mono); 30 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 3 g fiber; 602 mg sodium; 153 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (120% daily value), Calcium (25% dv).
Shopping Tip: Look for balls of whole-wheat pizza dough at your supermarket, fresh or frozen and without any hydrogenated oils.
By Nicci Micco
Nicci Micco is deputy editor of features and nutrition at EatingWell. She has a master's degree in nutrition and food sciences, with a focus in weight management. She's addicted to ice cream and pizza. But she also can't imagine going a week without eating sweet potatoes, salad greens or kidney beans. Kale and beets also rank at the top of her favorite-foods list.
Related Links from EatingWell:
Get food news, healthy recipes, health tips and more at EatingWell.com.
- Find recipes for your favorite comfort foods in EatingWell's new book, Comfort Foods Made Healthy.
- Sign up for EatingWell's free weekly newsletters and get healthy recipes, diet tips and nutrition news delivered right to your inbox.
- Get a free trial issue when you subscribe to EatingWell Magazine.