Americans consume roughly 3 billion pizzas each year. That’s a lot of pizza. Frozen pizza has existed in America since the late 1950s, and no one really knows who the original creator of frozen pizza is.
While pizza is inherently not the healthiest food, it doesn’t have to feel like a log in your stomach each time you eat it. In this article, we’re going to recommend you the best frozen pizzas to buy online that lean on the healthier side.
How to Choose a Healthy Frozen Pizza
A pizza, frozen or not, must consist of crust, cheese, and toppings. The vast majority of pizzas will contain tomato sauce, too. In America, there’s an incredible array of localized pizza variations: Chicago deep dish, New York style thin crust, and the eclectic California style. Those are just the most popular, mind you.
The aforementioned variations shift the proportions of dough to cheese, which make the pizza healthier or fattier. Then your choice of topping further impacts nutritional value. The following is an examination of the aforementioned points.
Healthy Ingredients Make a Healthier Pizza
Before we get to cooking methods, let’s start with the basics. In 2018, you’d be surprised at what a pizza can look like. We’ve come a long way from simply crust, cheese, tomato sauce, and toppings. Let’s look at ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into America’s favorite quick dinner.
It Starts With the Crust: Go Whole Wheat for Better Nutrition
Let’s start with the crust. Without the crust, a pizza is not a pizza. A pizza without crust is pasta. Think about it. Along with cheese, the crust is one of the least healthy aspects of a pizza. It’s loaded with carbs, butter, and often olive oil.
In general, don’t choose a stuffed pizza crust. The crust will be thicker and often is filled with cheese, both of which are the less healthy pizza components. Opt for thin and flatbread crusts in your quest for a healthy pizza.
Deep dish pizzas, while delicious, have more volume and therefore more calories. It’s also not a bad idea to look for crust made from whole wheat flour. It has the same amount of calories, but contains more fiber, which helps you stay full after eating and aids with digestion.
Furthermore, whole wheat crust has good amounts of B vitamins and nutrients such as iron and magnesium. Every human needs iron because it helps carry oxygen to your lungs more efficiently. Magnesium activates hundreds of crucial reactions in your body that include muscle contraction, blood coagulation, and nutrient metabolism. Both are crucial for a healthy diet.
How Do You Cheese: Skim and Sheep’s Milk Are the Way to Go
Again, cheese is virtually required in pizza, and it’s simply not that good for you. However, there are ways you can make it healthier. For starters, don’t use that much. Don’t get simply a cheese topping. Look for pizzas with light cheese, just enough to get that gooey consistency we all enjoy sinking our teeth into.
Organic gourmet cheeses are the way to go. Oftentimes, cheese you buy from the grocery isn’t even totally cheese. Avoid labels like “pasteurized” and “processed” cheeses. These cheeses are 51% actual cheese, the rest being additives, emulsifiers, and oils to fabricate that cheese-like volume.
Cheeses made from sheep’s milk contain more calcium than those from cow’s milk. Options include feta, roquefort, and ricotta. Mozzarella is otherwise a fine choice because it contains less saturated fat than many other cheese options. Also, try to stay away from mixed cheese blends because it’s harder to know exactly what’s in them. Some cheese blends contain fattier cheese filler that’s worse for your health.
If you can find cheese made with skim milk, go with that option: it’s always less fatty than cheese made from whole milk. Feta (6.0 g), mozzarella (6.3 g), and camembert (6.9 g) have the least grams of fat per 1 ounce serving. On the other end of the spectrum, cheddar (9.4 g), gruyere (9.2 g), and havarti (10 g) have the most. Parmesan (7.3 g), provolone (7.6 g), and swiss (7.9 g) are all in the middle.
While Pecorino Romano has 8 grams of fat, it has high amounts of Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA, which researchers have found to fight cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Per 1 ounce serving, mozzarella and cheddar (both 7 grams) have the most protein out of common cheeses.
Tomato Sauce: Healthy, Tasty, and Crucial in a Well Rounded Pizza
More than 90% of pizzas will come with tomato sauce. A pizza without tomato sauce is referred to as a “white pizza.” White pizzas are not necessarily healthier than normal pizza. The substitute for the tomato sauce is often garlic oil, which increases calories and doesn’t contain the antioxidant lycopene (which helps prevent types of cancer).
Furthermore, tomato sauce isn’t that bad for you at all. Tomatoes (whether canned or as a sauce) have good amounts of Vitamins A, C, and K. They are rich in fiber, too. Look for pure tomato sauce that doesn’t contain any preservatives or fillers meant to bulk up the sauce.
Toppings, Part One: Meat Lovers, Stick to Lean Protein
This is where it gets fun. Load your pizza with yellow, green, and red vegetables and even fruits. California style pizzas are informed by the health-centric California cuisine and are better for you. If you want meat, try to stick to lean proteins and you’re good to go.
Even though it’s one of the most popular pizza toppings, pepperoni isn’t the best meat choice for a healthy frozen pizza. Diced chicken is a great lean protein option, though. For those looking to lose weight, know that protein doesn’t just bulk you up–it makes you feel full and increases metabolism.
If you’re feeling ambitious, some pizzas may come with smoked salmon, although fish toppings are hard to come by for frozen pizzas. With salmon, you get protein, plus some minerals, all your B-Vitamins (needed by your brain!), and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which lower blood pressure and work to fight cancer.
Hawaiian pizzas are great, too. Their signature topping is pineapple, which goes surprisingly well with the tomato sauce and cheese. They also come with ham, which is a great lean protein and lower in fat than most red meats.
Toppings, Part Two: If It’s Green, It’s Good for You
Veggie pizzas are always a good call. They can come with whatever your heart desires. Don’t worry, freezing vegetables doesn’t reduce their nutritional content as long as they are frozen quickly. The one downside is that they may not taste as fresh, but you’ll have to live with that.
Basil, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts go great on thin crust pizzas. Spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms are the healthiest pizza toppings you can pile on. Spinach makes the bones grow; we all saw it with Popeye. It has high amounts of Vitamin K (makes the bones strong), Vitamin A (for healthy hair), Vitamin C (for healthy skin), and a bunch of other benefits: diabetes management, cancer and asthma prevention.
Broccoli is a good source of Vitamins K, C, and folic acid, which helps the body produce and sustain cell growth. It makes you a stronger, healthier human being. Mushrooms are a smart and tasty choice, too. They’re small, but are about 50% total protein. They help prevent prostate cancer in men and contain selenium, which helps protect against infection. If you’re looking for a pizza with these toppings, simply get a Veggie Lover’s pizza.
Let’s take a look at the caloric content of these toppings for one slice of a 12” pizza. There would be 5-10 calories of veggies, 14 of ham and pineapple, 24 of pepperoni, 45 of meat lover’s, and 50 calories if you order extra cheese. We’re not going to go there. The choice is obvious, isn’t it?
Pizza Style: Crust, Cheese, Toppings–Let’s Look at It All
There are some styles you should just simply avoid. Chicago deep dish pizzas are prepared in a pan that make the pizza thicker. They are loaded with more dough, cheese, and whatever your heart desires. Detroit style pizza is a rectangular shape and also is much thicker and bulkier. It’s often twice-baked in a well oiled pan to achieve that crisp chunkiness.
St Louis style pizza is a fun choice for the health-inclined. It’s got a thin crust and normally comes in smaller wedges than your traditional pizza. However, St. Louis styles are covered in Provel, which is a provolone-swiss-white chedder mix.
Greek pizza has a thicker than optimal crust, but contains ingredients from Greek Cuisine (feta cheese, Kalamata olives, real olive oil) that are healthier for you.
New York style and California style are safe bets to go with. They’re both thin crust, easy on the cheese, and can come with healthy toppings.
TOP 7 Best Healthy Frozen Pizzas to Buy Online
A healthy frozen pizza is easy on the dough and cheese, and heavy on the toppings. The following are our recommendations of the best healthy frozen pizzas to buy online.
Be advised. When buying frozen pizzas online, you’ll often get bulk packages of more than 2. Don’t fret, though; remember that they can be frozen. Let’s go get some ‘za!
7. DiGiorno Spinach and Garlic Pizza
Veggie Pizza from Industry Stalwart
While DiGiorno is known for its meat-based frozen pizzas, we included their healthier option. There are 3 servings per pizza at 250 calories each. It’s light on the toppings–just spinach and garlic–so you won’t be tasting much. It contains 25% of your Daily Value for Vitamin A, 25% for Calcium, 10% for Iron, and 4% for Vitamin C.
It’s a great budget-friendly option for those that are looking for a midday snack or even a light meal. The ingredients are probably not as healthy as some of the following options on our list, and you’re not getting that many nutrients. However, its crust is free of preservatives and is made with 100% real cheese.
6. California Pizza Kitchen Spinach and Artichoke Flatbread Pizza
Flatbread Veggie Pizza from California Style Restaurant Chain
There are flatbread options from California Pizza Kitchen, but the Spinach and Artichoke offering is the healthier way to go. Coming in at 180 calories per flatbread, it comes with–you guessed it–spinach and artichoke as the toppings. Although it’s a four cheese blend (mozzarella, parmesan, Asiago and Romano), they’re all reduced fat.
It contains 20% of your Daily Value for Vitamin A, 2% for Vitamin C, 20% for Calcium, and 10% for Iron. Flatbread pizzas offer you more portion control and don’t have as much cheese. The crust is made with organic flour and is gluten free. There’s only 5 grams of fat and 25 grams of carbohydrates, both of which are 8% of your daily value.
5. Amy’s No Cheese Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Veggie White Pizza Made with Organic Non-GMO Ingredients
Here’s another healthy offering from Amy’s. Although it’s not thin crust, this pizza makes up for it with all its organic vegetable toppings: marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and shiitake mushrooms. It has 2% of your Daily Value for Vitamin A, 15% for Vitamin C, 2% for Calcium, and 4% for Iron.
Did we mention there’s no cheese? This white pizza uses a thin base of caramelized onion in place. It’s vegan, soy, and tree nut free. This is a whole pizza, and Amy’s considers a third of it to be one serving. One serving comes in at 280 calories.
4. Amy’s Organic Spinach and Tomato Pizza
Spinach and Cheese Pizza Made with Organic Non-GMO Ingredients
Amy’s Kitchen is a frozen food company that specializes in organic non-GMO ingredients and food products. Some suggest that the only problem with the pizza is the serving size. It’s too tasty not to eat the whole thing. It’s made with organic spinach, tomato, and feta cheese over a thin crust.
It has 30% of your Daily Value for Vitamin A, 8% for Vitamin C, 20% for Calcium, and 8% for Iron. There are no preservatives, trans fats, or MSG added. It comes in at 310 calories, and the only real downside is that it contains about 25% of your daily sodium value. It’s tree nut free and kosher.
3. California Pizza Kitchen Sicilian Thin Crust Pizza
Healthy Meat Lover’s Pizza
Our only frozen pizza with meat on it, this zesty pizza is protein dense and healthier than a meat lover’s pizza from your local delivery chain. It has 6% of your Daily Value for Vitamin A, 2% for Vitamin C, 25% for Calcium, and 15% for Iron.
Topped with Italian sausage, ham, salami, basil, thin mozzarella cheese, and vine-ripened tomato sauce, each serving comes in at 300 calories. That’s more than the average serving on this list, but there’s a payoff: 17g of protein, 30% of your daily value. Its crust is preservative free and made with 100% real mozzarella cheese, no artificial flavors added.
2. 365 Mediterranean Thin Crust Pizza
Balanced and Healthy Mediterranean Thin Crust from Whole Foods
Whole Foods 365 is the grocery market chain’s own line of affordable and healthy food products. This whole pizza comes with 300 calories per serving, and is topped with nutrient rich ingredients popular in Mediterranean cuisine. Did you know that people who subsist on a Mediterranean cuisine live longer lives?
It has 25% of your Daily Value for Vitamin A, 15% of Vitamin C, 20% of Calcium, and 15% of Iron. Tangy feta, sweet tomato sauce, kalamata olives, and spinach sit atop a crunchy thin crust. Apparently, the only problem with this healthy frozen pizza is that it’s often out of stock on Amazon fresh. Each serving also contains 13 g of protein. A balanced and affordable dinner.
1. CAULIPOWER Veggie Cauliflower Crust Pizza 4 Pack
Cauliflower Crust Veggie Pizza
This is not your average pizza crust. It’s 100% cauliflower. This pizza was rated #1 on the “Eat This, Not That” 100 Healthiest Foods of 2017 as a tasty substitute for your traditional flour based pizza. There are several toppings you can choose from, but the veggie toppings (as always) are the healthiest. This products comes with 4 pizzas, hence the $50 price tag.
It has 20% of your Daily Value for Vitamin A, 50% of Vitamin C, 25% of Calcium, and 6% of Iron. You’ll be eating 310 calories worth of vine ripened tomatoes, melted mozzarella, and red, yellow, and green peppers. Cauliflower itself has great amounts of manganese and other antioxidants, too. The crust crisps to brown and is great for kids who think healthy does not equal tasty. It does here.
Size of the Pizza: For a Party of One, Don’t Go over 7 Inches
The benefit of getting a frozen pizza is that they can come in individual sizes. By definition, an individual pizza should serve as a complete meal for one person. Dominos and Pizza Hut and other pizza chains consider a small pizza to be 10″ in diameter, a medium to be 12″, and a large to be 14″ in diameter.
A healthy individual pizza should be 6-8″ in diameter. Pizza Hut does have a personal pan pizza, but trust us, it’s not healthy for you, even if you go with the Veggie options. Also, put the slice(s) of pizza on a plate rather than eating it out of the box. It’s easier to eat slice after slice when you’re eating from the box.
Pizzas are versatile. Depending on what you put on top, they can cover all of the food groups. Here’s a good trick to know how much pizza you should eat. You should only eat one or two hands worth of pizza. Look at the size of your hands, then look at the pizza. That’s your serving.
Frozen pizzas don’t have to be less fresh than delivery pizzas if you know which to buy. The online marketplace has made it practical to get a healthy frozen pizza delivered to your home in a day or two.
While pizza isn’t the healthiest food, it’s one of the tastiest. By going a healthier route, you won’t get mad at yourself when you eat one. You’ll feel better, too.
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