Benefits To You: How Healthy is Vegan Pizza?
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Is Vegan Pizza Healthy?
Traditional pizza may be delicious, but it also has a bad rap for being full of greasy cheese and processed meats. You may be wondering if vegan pizza is a healthier option. Well, it depends on what it’s made with. Some vegan pizzas can be much healthier than your traditional pizza, while others are just as bad for you – albeit in different ways.
Vegan pizza made from plant-based ingredients only is going to be lighter on the calories. With plant-based ingredients, you are skipping all the saturated fat and artery-clogging grease. The key is to stick to fresh veggies, herbs, and plant-based ingredients for your pizza crust, pizza sauce, and toppings.
Is All Vegan Food Healthy?
Many people automatically assume all vegan food is healthy. This is far from true. Of course, there are a lot of vegan foods that are very healthy. You can’t go wrong with fresh fruits and vegetables.
However, for all the healthy vegan food available, there is just as much vegan junk food on the market. You can’t assume that just because it’s vegan, it must be healthy. The vegan movement has been catching momentum in recent years. With this momentum comes a lot of new vegan products – some of which are great, others not so much.
Moreover, sweets and salty snacks may be vegan, but they are still junk food. Did you know that Oreos and Fritos are vegan? That’s right; there are no meat, dairy, or eggs in either of them. Does that make them healthy? I’d like to think so, but no.
Some vegans are eating just as much processed foods as the average American diet. Moreover, not all vegan diets are plentiful in plant-based ingredients. Many people end up relying heavily on junk food when they make the switch to a vegan diet because they are trying to eat the same types of foods they ate before becoming vegan.
For instance, vegan meats and cheeses might make your pizza taste closer to traditional meat and cheese pizza. However, most vegan meats and cheeses contain a ton of sodium and are highly processed. Vegan butter and vegan baked goods can be even worse for your health than traditional butter and baked goods. This is because a lot of vegan options are way more processed than their traditional counterparts.
So, if your tactic is just to switch out your traditional pizza for vegan pizza, you are not necessarily getting something healthier. However, switching from sausage and pepperoni pizza with extra cheese to a cheese-less pizza topped with veggies is likely to be healthier. How do you know if your vegan food is healthy? Well, first, take a look at the label. Try vegan foods that have few ingredients, and ones that you can pronounce.
The key to making a vegan diet that is good for your health is no different than creating any other healthy diet. You need well-balanced meals and snacks full of nutritious foods to make a vegan diet healthy. You’ll need to make sure your diet contains enough micronutrients, including calcium, iron, and B12. You’ll also need to make sure you are eating enough plant-based meals to get adequate amounts of protein. Foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains are all excellent choices.
As with any healthy balanced diet, the rule should be moderation. So, if you are craving that vegan cookie or that vegan pizza topped with vegan meat and cheese, go for it. Just don’t get stuck in that mindset that it’s vegan, so it must be healthy. Junk food once in a while is not the end of the world, just don’t make it a habit. Some vegan food is better for you than others. Beans, rice, and veggies are health foods that are a big part of a balanced vegan diet.
Is Vegan Pizza Less Calories?
The calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat in most traditional pizzas are part of why pizza is considered an unhealthy food. However, healthier pizzas do exist. Most vegan pizzas do have fewer calories than their traditional counterparts. If you choose a cheeseless vegan pizza, it will lower the calorie count dramatically. Whether you are making pizza yourself, buying a frozen pizza, getting delivery, or going to a gourmet pizzeria, check the ingredients and nutritional information if you can. In some restaurants, the nutritional information will be on the menu, while others won’t have it available.
All plant-based food is cholesterol-free, so no vegan food should have cholesterol in it. You can Google the calorie count for Domino’s pizza options. Did you know that for just one large slice of Domino’s hand-tossed cheese pizza, you are consuming 340 calories? Compare this to a vegan pizza, which on average, is about 210 calories per large slice.
How Many Calories Are in a Slice of Pizza?
The nutritional content and calories in pizza can vary widely depending upon the ingredients of the crust, the sauce, and the toppings in addition to the way it is baked. Moreover, you have to think about the size of the slice. Large pizza slices naturally have a ton more calories than small pizza slices. The nutrition information from the USDA shows that an average medium slice (80g) of cheese pizza contains about 213 calories (70 calories from fat), 7.8 grams of fat (3.6 grams of which is saturated fat), 478 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.9 grams of sugar.
Cheese is the number one pizza ingredient that increases the calorie count. Cheeseless pizzas may be less common in America, but surprisingly, but may traditional Italian pizzas often were made without cheese. The delicious marinara sauce was cooked with tomatoes, oregano, and garlic. Many pizzerias have cheeseless options now, and if they don’t, you may be able to request one. The key to making a great cheese-less pizza is including high-quality ingredients.
The simplest way to cut calories when it comes to pizza is to hold the cheese. Cutting out the cheese on a regular slice of pizza could save you as much as 100 calories and significantly reduce your saturated fat intake. If cheeseless pizza sounds too bland, you can always add some red pepper flakes to add some extra flavor.
Vegan cheese may be better for your health than dairy cheese because vegan cheese does not have any cholesterol. However, most vegan cheeses do not have that big of a difference when it comes to how many calories they contain.
What Kind of Pizza Has the Most Calories?
In addition to cheese, pizza topped with meat contains a lot of calories and saturated fat. For this reason, the unhealthiest type of pizza is one topped with tons of processed meats and extra cheese. The number of calories added to each slice of pizza will vary by type of meat, size of the slice, and how much meat is added. If you are unable to get the calorie and nutritional information for the pizza you are going to eat, an excellent way to estimate the number of calories added is to assume it’s going to be about 40 extra calories per slice of meat pizza.
What Kind of Pizza Has the Least Calories?
The type of pizza with the least calories will usually be a vegan cheese-less pizza. Many vegetable pizzas contain fewer than 200 calories per slice. The great thing about veggies is that you can pile them high on your pizza for lots of flavors, without piling on the calories.
Of course, the calorie count will vary depending on the type and amount of veggies you add. If you want to make it extra healthy, choose veggies that will give you a boost of antioxidants and fiber. Vegetable toppings like tomatoes, onions, and green peppers are super healthy choices. Spinach and broccoli are even better!
How to Reduce the Number of Calories in Your Pizza
Choose whole-wheat pizza dough for the crust to increase the fiber content substantially. There are quite a few ingredients you can use to make a vegan pizza crust that is free from refined carbohydrates and gluten. Some of these include legumes, veggies, and seeds. Pizzas made with these types of ingredients are much healthier than your regular flour and yeast-based dough. To reduce the number of calories in your next slice of pizza, follow a few of these helpful tips.
- Instead of your traditional pizza crust, try a thin crust made with whole wheat. A thin crust will significantly reduce the number of calories per slice, while the whole wheat provides lots of fiber.
- Stick to marinara, avoid white pizza sauces. The olive oil and pesto typically used in white pizza sauce increase the calorie count substantially compared to regular tomato marinara.
- Skip the breadsticks and dipping sauces. A lot of restaurants will give you pizza AND breadsticks. The breadsticks often come with dipping sauces like garlic butter or ranch dip. Both the breadsticks and the dipping sauces add a lot of calories to your meal.
- If you make your pizza at home, you can reduce the number of calories by baking with a non-stick pan and skip the oil! You can use a regular non-stick pan, or you can purchase a pan specially designed for pizza that has a perforated base to increase airflow, so the crust bakes evenly.
- Top your pizza with creative veggie combinations for a more flavorful dish, as well as for increased fiber.
In conclusion, your typical pizza is not going to be the healthiest option. But, swap out a few key ingredients, and focus on creating something new and delicious using plenty of plant-based ingredients, and you are on your way to creating a healthy pizza.