Pizza tops America's list of fast-food favorites, but homemakers can make a nutritious pizza at home for as little as half the cost of a restaurant pizza, says Susan Kennedy, a Los Angeles registered dietitian.
"A well-balanced pizza supplies servings from each of the nutrient-based food groups--milk, meat, vegetables and fruits, and breads and cereals," Kennedy says.
Mozzarella cheese belongs in the milk group; sausage, salami, pepperoni or ground beef are members of the meat group; tomato sauce, mushrooms, onions and green peppers are from the vegetable/fruit group, and the crust is from the breads and cereals group.
Kennedy suggests making pizza dough from scratch. "Using whole-wheat flour in the crust, lean ground beef, canned pizza sauce, low-fat mozzarella cheese and fresh vegetables, you'll have a nutritious pizza that's low in fat and rich in fiber," she says.
For those cooks who are short on time, ready-made pizza crusts can now be purchased in many grocery stores, or try rolled-out biscuit dough.
A slice of leftover pizza is a good breakfast food, too, because it offers a balance of nutrients important to good performance in the morning, Kennedy adds.
Snack pizzas, which kids can make with English muffins, are a nutritious alternative to cookies after school. Snack pizzas, a green salad, some fruit and a glass of milk make a great lunch rich in calcium, Vitamin C, B vitamins and fiber.