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Whether you are on a strict diet or just trying to eat healthier, small changes make all the difference. You can substitute a variety of healthy ingredients in place of your favorite toppings on your pizza.
Some of the best healthier pizza topping alternatives are butternut squash, turkey, cashew cheese, spinach, cauliflower, chicken, tofu, pesto, or mushrooms, as well as a wide variety of vegetables and greens.
In this easy guide, you will find out the best substitutions for fatty, high calorie pizza toppings and ways to make your pizza plant based, lower fat, and lower calorie. Let’s dig in!
Healthier Pizza Topping Alternatives
Globally, the obesity epidemic has reached an all time peak, and many individuals are looking for new ways to live healthier lifestyles. If you are on this journey, you may find it difficult to give up your favorite foods. By choosing healthier pizza topping alternatives to your favourites, you can still enjoy your pizza, without worrying about the consequences of an unhealthy diet.
To make your pizza healthier, you should start with a healthy crust. There are many alternative crusts, like gluten free options using cauliflower, rice flour, almond flour, potato starch, sweet potatoes, or tapioca starch. If you enjoy regular dough, try a thin crust, which will reduce your calorie intake.
Vegetables contain healthy vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, and they are typically low calorie. By making your pizza more plant based, you are bettering the environment, animals, and your digestive system.
When trying to eat healthy, less is more. Add extra seasonings and pepper flakes to make the meal more flavorful, but don’t add extra of high calorie and high fat ingredients.
Pepperoni and Ham Alternatives
Two of the most popular toppings on pizza are pepperoni and ham. Hearty mushrooms and soy, a meat alternative, can be great substitutes for pepperoni. Additionally, there are other options to pepperonis available on the market, which are usually lower calorie. Add extra hot pepper flakes for that spicy kick.
If you want meat on your pizza, lean meats are less processed and contain less sodium than pepperoni or ham, and they are better meat options for your heart health:
- Canadian bacon
Or you can spice it up and try healthy, protein packed plant based alternatives like:
- Impossible Meat Crumbles
- Vegan chicken strips
- Plant based pepperoni
With the right seasonings, these vegetables can even be transformed into meat:
- Portobello mushroom
If you want to add pepperoni, use it sparingly, choose a smaller circumference, or select a pepperoni made from turkey.
Cheese Alternatives for your Pizza
There are typically three types of toppings on a pizza: meat, cheese, and vegetables. Of these three, for most people, the most unhealthy is the cheese. This is because many people actually have an intolerance to cheese which can cause bloating and digestive problems.
Additionally, cheese is very high in calories and processed fats. Our best advice is to skip cheese all together, or select a low fat version. If you must add cheese, use it sparingly and don’t order an extra cheesy option.
Some people think a pizza isn’t complete without cheese, but there are great options that you can use instead of the high calorie dairy. If you want to stick to a plant based diet, you might want to try:
- Cashew cheese
- Vegan mozzarella
- Mashed butternut squash
- Cauliflower sauce
- Zucchini Cheese
- Nutritional Yeast Cheese Sauce
If you want to have dairy cheese, try ricotta, which is lighter than mozzarella in calories, carbs, and fat.
The best pizzas are creative ones! Swap out parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast, a favorite of many vegans, because it has a smoky, cheesy taste, with additional essential nutrients, protein, and vitamin B-12.
Switch up the entire pizza itself: use pesto sauce instead of cheese and marinara or try a salad pizza, with balsamic dressing and fresh vegetables on top.
Pizza Sauce Alternatives
Homemade sauce is always better for you and better tasting than jarred sauce, so swap out the excess oils, artificial sweeteners, and additives for a simple homemade recipe using fresh ingredients. All you need to create sauce from scratch is tomato paste, water, olive oil, and spices, including garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Blend the ingredients well and you’re good to go!
You can make this sauce beforehand and store it canned or jarred for months or years in your pantry. Making your own sauce is also typically less expensive than buying jarred sauce.
Red sauce can be a trigger for heartburn and acid reflux in some individuals. If you experience these kinds of issues, you may want to try out some different, healthy alternatives to pizza sauce.
You may want to try a deconstructed pizza, where the sauce is eliminated and replaced by fresh tomato slices. Or, you can take the tomatoes out of the equation and sample a slice with a new kind of sauce on top.
Our favorite sauce alternatives include:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Italian Dressing
- Olive Tapenade
- White garlic sauce
Vegetable Toppings for Pizzas
You can include a variety of vegetables on your pizza! Not only are vegetables tasty, but they are typically low calorie, low fat, and contain valuable vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein! Here are some of the best vegetable toppings for your pizza:
- Yellow squash
- Red bell peppers
- Banana peppers
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Or whatever you have in your pantry!
Although it is highly debated, fruits, like pineapple, are a great healthy pizza topping! Counteract the sweetness with extra spicy flavors or go all out and add some jam to the crust to caramelize the dough.
The best pizzas are the ones that are made with love and with creativity. If you want to create a delicious, but healthy pizza, you should try out new combinations of vegetables, lean meats, plant based meats, low fat sauces, and oils. Add lots of vegetables, but limit the amount of meats and cheeses.