If you’ve been following our blogs, you already know that when we were growing up, our mom literally cooked dinner for us every night. We were completely spoiled, we know it.
And that’s one reason why we so enjoy a good home-cooked meal- the great memories of our childhood. However, because we probably only went out to dinner two times a year, going out to dinner was also a real treat. Still to this day, eating out is a treat for us and we’re not your typical New Yorkers in that we aren’t eating out every meal!
Tammy’s been raising her twin daughters, Summer and Riley to appreciate delicious, healthy home cooking, however, we can see how much they love the treat of going out to eat, the same way we did. So on nights when they want to eat pizza, and making Pita Pizza isn’t on the agenda, the family (Auntie Lyssie included), hit the pizza joint, rather than trying to muster the energy to knead the whole-wheat dough like our mom did.
So you may wonder how as registered dietitians we make sure everyone loves the pizza they are eating at a restaurant while ensuring that their waistlines and hearts love them back.
Here are our tips.
1. First, before you go, decide what you are going to order. The smell of the pizza alone gets our mouths watering and it’s hard not to over-order and make a poor decision if you don’t have a game plan! So know in advance what you are going to eat.
2. Eat no more than half of your individual pizza- bring the rest home! Or if you are ordering with the family, stick to two slices and if you are still hungry keep filling up on salad and/ or steamed veggies. This is a great way to get the kids to see you doing this and to lead by example.
3. Always add a salad- a great starter or addition for any meal!
4. Order a thin crust pizza-preferably whole grain! You can save a lot of calories by doing this because you are eating less crust and most kids actually prefer it this way anyway since they tend to like what’s on the crust- are we the only ones who watch the kids like their pizza?! (A typical large slice of pizza will have at least 60 calories less when it’s thin crust.)
5. Ask for light on the cheese (save 50 calories a slice)- or choose a pizza made with one cheese instead of many cheeses and blot your cheese if there is a lot of grease on top. Sometimes, we actually order “cheeseless” pizza and have a grilled chicken on top for protein. We find that if the pizza sauce is killer, you don’t miss the cheese and the grilled chicken makes a delish lean protein! (Of course, you may need to order half the pizza this way as the kids will probably want the light on cheese the option.)
6. Pick toppings that add nutrition- like chicken, LOTS OF VEGETABLES, and seafood! And remember, although cheese does add protein, it is high in calories and fat, so even for kids, if the cheese isn’t low-fat, it’s a good idea to order “light on the cheese” and get a little bit of the other nutritional toppings.
How do you like your pizza? Do you use any tricks to keep the calories in check?