One of the most common "cheat foods" is pizza. Clean eaters adhere to a pristine diet for six days, and on the seventh, they'll sit back and munch a big slice (or eight). Most people see pizza as "dirty," or as an unhealthy junk food that can topple one's health and fitness goals.
Many people leave pizza for their "cheat day," when the rules of the game are temporarily suspended. On that day, in come ice cream, burgers, fries, and that cheesy, gooey, delicious treat.
I'm not going to get into the merits of cheat foods, cheat days, or labeling foods as "clean" and "dirty." I'll leave that for another article. What I want to say here is that pizza doesn't have to be relegated to the realm of the cheat meal. Pizza doesn't have to be unhealthy.
And why should it? Why should it be greasy, high-sugar, high-fat, and relatively low in protein? Pizza can be healthy, packed full of nutrition, and enjoyed without a side dish of "I shouldn't have."
Making healthy pizza is very easy—all you need to do is make your own crust and choose your toppings wisely. If you do, you'll end up with a pizza that doesn't include white flour, sugars, oil, and butter, but rather contains complex carbs, healthy fats, and a protein kaPOW!
You can get creative with your toppings too. Use chicken, beef, pineapple, ham, mushrooms, eggs, spinach, anchovies, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, corn, broccoli, blue cheese, cottage cheese, cheddar, goat cheese, etc. The sky is the limit! Be brave and experiment with your toppings. You can also play around with the ingredients for your crusts.
Are you ready to bring pizza back from the cheat world and into your daily life? You'll never look back, I promise. Here are two of my favorite pizza crust recipes to get you started:
1. Low-Carb Protein Pizza
This pizza is great for those watching their carb intake. Topped with mozzarella, spinach, and an egg, it makes for an incredible Fiorentina low-carb pizza!
2. Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Protein Pizza
This pizza crust has more grams of carbs than the first recipe, but it's absolutely delicious. It's perfect to have post workout, topped with chicken and some cottage cheese. Om-nom-nom!
Sweet Potato Pizza Notes:
For toppings, I like to spread 2 tbsp of tomato paste, some sliced mushroom, a few slices of leek, a couple of tablespoons of mature cheddar cheese, and parsley. I also brush a tiny bit of extra olive oil around the edges—this adds a really nice richness to the pizza and tastes delicious!