Eating on the Run: Healthy Pizza Combinations
Source: Cook Smarts
For an easy week night meal, try homemade pizza! It’s a great way to bring the family together and it’s easy to customize each pizza for individual preferences. To keep it healthy, reduce the amount of meat and/or cheese and increase the amount of veggies. Add a salad on the side for a complete meal. Skip the deep fried wings!
In the kitchen and pantry, have on hand your favorite fresh or frozen pizza crust or dough, or flat or pita bread, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Use leftover veggies in the ‘fridge (fresh or roasted) and layer it up! Consider purchasing a pizza stone which evenly cooks the crust and draws out any extra moisture. If not, a regular cookie sheet will work. The entire family can join in the assembly process. Cook on high heat (about 400-450 degrees – cooking times will vary according to your oven) about 10-12 minutes.
To get you started, here are some good pizza combinations:
**Feel free to omit meat from any of the following combinations for a vegetarian-friendly meal.
- Margherita: Tomato sauce, Fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil
- Classic Combination: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, green peppers, sliced mushrooms, and black olives
- Spinach & Artichoke: Tomatoes, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, baby spinach, minced garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes
- Asparagus Prosciutto: Tomatoes, mozzarella, prosciutto, asparagus, and lemon zest
- Italian Veggie: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, diced eggplant, roasted red peppers, black olives, capers, and parmesan cheese
- Spanish: Tomato sauce, queso fresco, chorizo or ham, sliced mushrooms, sliced red onions, parsley, and paprika.
- Caprese: pesto, fresh mozzarella, sliced fresh tomatoes or sun-dried, basil, and balsamic vinegar
- Southwestern: BBQ sauce, Mexican cheese, ground pork or sausage, black beans, corn, diced fresh tomatoes, sliced red onions, and cilantro
- Taco: Refried beans, Mexican cheese, ground beef or chorizo, black olives, diced fresh tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and avocado. Finish with salsa.
- Ironman: hummus, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, roasted butternut squash, and sliced shallots **Katina’s Top Pick
- Rosemary Chicken: Fontina cheese, rotisserie chicken, roasted potatoes, rosemary, sliced mushrooms, and arugula
- Greek: feta, Kalamata olives, sliced red onions, fresh dill, and shredded lettuce
Eating on the Run: Make Weeknight Meals Easier by Using a Meal Template
Most people are familiar with the concept of meal planning, but let’s take it up a notch this month and learn more about the meal template. I personally call it “eating by theme.” For instance, most people are familiar with Taco Tuesday. Tacos are the main theme that the meal is built around and depending upon your mood, you can change up the taco ingredients to your personal liking. To keep things simple on busy weeknights, make a meal plan for the week (or entire month) and assign each day a theme. Keep the themes consistent for a month or two and then rotate in some new themes. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of simplicity (i.e., no stress) in this as well as variation (i.e., lots of creativity). In the end, meal time should not be stressful, but a time when families can come together, eat, and share. Always add a little vitamin L (you know, vitamin Love) to your cooking and nourish the body and spirit through your meals.
Stay calm and taco on, my friends.
Here are some of my favorite meal templates:
- Meatless Mondays
- Stir Fry Night
- Casserole Night
- Taco Tuesday
- Sandwich Night
- Tapas Night
- Try Day Friday
- Grain Bowl Night
- BBQ Night
- Soup-er Sunday
- Pizza Night **See above article for pizza combinations
- Pasta Night
- Slow Cooker Night
- Salad Night
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Chicken Night
- Seafood Night **Suggestion: eat fish 2x a week
- Rice Night
- Burger Night
Nutrition in the News: The Best Diets According to US News & World Reports
It’s easy to be confused about the latest and greatest trends in nutrition when we are bombarded with news and information at every turn. I studied over 100 dietary theories in my program of study, so it’s easy for me to find merit in some dietary approaches over others, but for the common person who just wants some clarity in the sea of dietary approaches and then make simple lifestyle changes, I recommend readers to turn to the yearly Diet Rankings by U.S. News and World Report (see January 2, 2019 post). Every January, the dietary rankings are published by category. Each diet is assessed based on a set of data that is further reviewed by doctors and nutritionists. This list is a good place to start to help you move forward with your nutrition and health goals.
Here is a partial list of the categories and top diets from the 2019 report:
Best Diets Overall
Best Commercial Diets
- Weight Watchers (note: eat and prepare your own food)
- Jenny Craig (note: eat their prepared meals)
Best Weight Loss Diets
- Weight Watchers
Best Diets for Healthy Eating
Easiest Diets to Follow
- Weight Watchers
My top pick is the Mediterranean diet for overall health. Couple this diet with the lifestyle behaviors found common to the Blue Zones and you’ve got a sure fire formula for good health and nutrition, and quality of life. In the end, the best diet may just be paying attention to your body. So don’t feel trapped into a diet if it doesn’t feel right. Try something new!
Katina Sayers is the owner/operator of Katina’s Nutritional Coaching Corner. She has an extensive background in health and education that began with degrees in exercise physiology, health and physical education, community health, and culminating with a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction. She completed an advanced certificate of study in Integrative Nutrition and Health Coaching from the renowned Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York City. For the last four years, she has worked one-on-one with clients, presented a multitude of nutrition topics for large and small audiences, contracted with businesses to implement worksite wellness initiatives, and currently manages day-to-day food service operations at a local non-profit agency, as well as directs activities related to nutrition and health. Katina can be reached at email@example.com.