Dylan's Lunchbox: Healthy Pizza?

Dylan Richards

Whether you can scare your friends by suddenly becoming the hulk, tripling your appetite, and downing several slices, or grabbing just one as an after school snack at the pizzeria down the block, pizza always hits the spot. Who doesn’t love a good old slice of New York style pizza? In New York City we are famous for our divine thin-crust pizzas. The popular pies made of flavorful dough, mouth-watering marinara sauce, and rich mozzarella cheese, makes all of our stomachs rumble with crave. Pizza can be high in fats, salts, and sugars, though. No worries, though because it sure doesn’t have to be! How can we make healthy pizza? What ingredients would we need in order to create the healthiest pizza we can, while still managing to keep the delicious flavors, texture, and uniqueness of our famous NYC pizza? 

 

Creating a nutritious and tasteful pie IS possible. Here is a quick and easy recipe that you can follow with your family and friends, and build the ultimate both healthy AND savory pizza pie. 

 

STEP 1, THE DOUGH: The first thing that you need to make any pizza pie is the dough. When you are in the supermarket, pick up the whole-wheat pizza dough rather than the bleached, white dough. Whole wheat bread is filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. The protein that is in wheat bread gives our bodies lots of long lasting energy unlike refined, white bread. Whole wheat, made of whole grains, is the healthy choice. In the dairy section of most grocery stores you should be able to find either bagged dough, or flattened-ready-to-bake pizza dough. These packages usually are full pies, so you are going to need a dough roller to create your circular pie. Have a parent or guardian help you shape your pie! 

 

STEP 2, THE SAUCE: The second thing that you have to get, or create, is the sauce. If you are buying marinara/tomato sauce that is canned, go for the organic one, if it is available. Also- if there is a “low-fat,” or “low-sodium,” option, pick that one up. Canned sauces can contain a lot of sodium, which is very unhealthy, so try and avoid that. If you can, although it is a bit more time consuming (it is well worth it, I promise), make it yourself! It is your best bet to create homemade pizza sauce and it is actually super easy! All you need is a few easy-to-get ingredients, a mixing bowl, and a stove, and you’ll have yourself a delicious and nutritious pizza sauce. If you are making a pie, here is what you will need for sauce, the healthy choice: 

 

1.    A dozen ripe, plum tomatoes. Have your parent help you chop up the tomatoes, and add the tomatoes    to your mixing bowl. (check out the organic section for organic tomatoes)  

2.    Add 1 large diced red onion to your mixing bowl  

3.    Add 1-2 garlic cloves to your mixing bowl 

4.    Pour 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a pot, one big enough to hold a lot of sauce

5.    Add 1 teaspoon of dried oregano to your mixing bowl 

After you have completed steps 1-5, ask a parent or guardian to turn on the stove, and pour the items from the mixing bowl into the pot. You may need to add a cup or two of water if the tomatoes aren’t juicy enough. Let the sauce cook until it is boiled. Let it stand and cool for a few minutes. 

STEP THREE, THE CHEESE: The third thing that is crucial for your pizza pie is the cheese. Mozzarella cheese is the most popular pizza-cheese, it is also extremely low in fat too! Pick up some grated mozzarella cheese from the dairy aisle. This is the healthy choice. Don’t forget to check if an organic option is available! 

After your dough is shaped, and the crust is as thin or thick as you want, grab a spoon and top the dough with your fresh marinara sauce. Then, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese all over the pizza. If you like toppings on your pizza, you can add whatever vegetables you have in your fridge on top of the pie. Now, your pizza is ready to be cooked, depending on your oven, have a parent or guardian decide how long the pizza should be in there. For most ovens, 45 minutes on 450 degrees fahrenheit should do the trick. 

And there you have it! An incredibly tasty pizza that is also healthy. You see, it is possible. Happy eating!