Pizza has long been one of the great loves of my life. As a child, Friday lunch at the neighborhood pizzeria was a highlight of my late grade school years. Often my mother would make it from scratch at home as well.
In my early days in Chicago, I could easily eat half a large Chicago-style deep dish pizza, amazing waitresses every time.
But pizza is loaded with fat and salt, two no-nos on my new restricted diet. Rather than give it up, I’ve been tinkering with ways to make a healthier pizza. The result still has more salt than I would like, about half my days’ limit of around 1,200 mgs., but a good deal of that comes from the cheese, so if I cut that back it will get better.
I started by looking for a pre-made whole-wheat crust. There are several brands and store brands available, but the salt content in many is quite high. I settled on a Whole Foods store brand, 365, which has 300 mgs of sodium in a 12-inch whole wheat crust (no regular dough for me, I’ve been advised not to eat white bread, white flour, etc.).
To that, I add a salt-free tomato sauce that either I make or buy pre-made. There is 15 mgs of sodium per serving in that but a small eight-ounce can is considered 3.5-servings so that adds up to 53 mgs for the entire pizza.
The cheese is the big challenge. Cheese equals fat, unfortunately. Eight ounces of mozzarella has 50.7 grams of fat and 1,422 mgs of salt, according to my LoseIt! App. That’s obviously unacceptable on my new diet.
A cup of reduced fat mozzarella has 18 grams of fat and 840 mgs of salt, getting better but I wanted to get more of the fat out. So I found fat-free mozzarella at several stores in my area. The count for that is zero fat and 839.6 mgs of sodium. That brings the total pizza sodium to 1,292.6 mgs. That’s basically a day of salt for me, so I can eat only half a pizza, not enough to fill me up but enough to taste and enjoy it.
I also add what veggies we may have on hand, slices of peppers and mushrooms, along with fresh basil from our garden and a little bit of olive oil.
Try it and let me know what you think, or send me your own recipes. I look forward to hearing from you.