Pizza: A Healthy, Homemade, 3-Step Beginner’s Guide

Takeaway pizzas, with their high saturated fat, salt and calorie content, have scared fitness enthusiasts away from the lightly-floured, decadent and doughy plains of the pizza. But, there’s no reason why people pursuing a nutritious diet should shy away from the ultimate comfort food. Want to have your pizza and eat it too? Then join us in Pizza: A Healthy, Homemade, 3-Step Beginner’s Guide!

1. The Dough

A good dough is CRUCIAL for a healthy pizza. Here’s a basic recipe to get you on your way (makes 6):

  • 650g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 50ml warm milk (organic or non-dairy)
  • 325ml warm water

Wholemeal flour is preferable to white flour because it is so vitamin and fibre-rich. It’s also quite easy and cheap to get hold of at most supermarkets. To make this dough, simply mix together the flour, salt, yeast, oil and milk in a large bowl. Then, gradually add the water to the bowl, mixing into a dough. Then, knead the dough on a lightly-floured surface for 5 minutes. After this, put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean-tea towel and allow to rise for at least an hour. Next, divide your dough into six and roll out thinly, then it’ll end up crispy!

TIP: Don’t be tempted to throw loads of flour at the dough if it’s really sticky! This will make the dough too bread-like. Just knead with vigour!

2. The Base

A good base brings depth of flavour to your pizza. Try to avoid premade jars of pasta sauce, because they’re often high in salt. Instead, smother on some passata. But, to boost the flavour, lob in a (crushed) clove of garlic, as well as a sprinkling of dried thyme and oregano. The herbs will provide a decent kick of vitamin K, which helps keep your bones strong.

3. The Toppings

This is the BIGGIE. The make or break of a pizza. The toppings are the difference between a mediocre, forgettable slab of dough, and a rich, vibrant meal with abundant flavour to savour. They’re also a great opportunity to pack in some great nutrients which will be conducive with a wide range of fitness goals.

Protein Power:
If you’re a gym-goer looking to maintain a high-protein diet, there’s plenty of ways to do this with tasty, exciting pizza toppings.

Try, for example, Egg Florentine Pizza. Top your pizza with rocket spinach (which is also rich in vitamin K), shaved almonds (for extra protein) and a sprinkling of feta or cottage cheese (protein galore!). Bake for about 7 mins at 220 degrees, before taking out of the oven, moving aside some of the toppings, and cracking on two eggs. Bake for another 7 mins. Delicious. Bon appetit!

Low-Calorie Fruit Punch:
If you’re a long-distance runner who needs a kick of natural sugar, or you’re simply trying to cut back some calories, try this savoury-sweet blend.

Peach and Spinach Pizza:
I wholeheartedly understand that this topping combination sounds worrying at first. But, considering pineapple has already wormed its way into our culinary imaginations when it comes to pizza, it’s time to open our minds to new pizza-fruit combos. Peaches are a great source of vitamin C, and spinach is a renowned superfood. Consider sprinkling some pine nuts on top for an added crunch dimension, and a dose of healthy fats.

These recipes are exciting because they remind us, once again, that we needn’t abandon flavourful, comfort food if we are pursuing a certain type of diet. Pizzas are great because they can be moulded to our eclectic set of palates and goals. If you want a protein-packed pizza, don’t shy away from trying a range of nuts and beans on your pizza. Blended kidney beans, for example, could provide a thick, creamy pizza base. Options are infinitely numerous and varied, so…what’s going on YOUR healthy pizza today?

What simple healthy pizza recipes do you love making, baking and eating? We’d love to know in the comments below, and feel free to join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter Instagram!

James Leach

James follows a vegetarian diet, and his main interest is in creating cheap, healthy recipes that are also delicious. He incorporates this philosophy into his own fitness activities too, which includes running, strength training, as well as football and climbing!

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