Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Don’t Dial out for Dinner

School is out. Summer is in full swing. And that means long days by the pool or at the park and less time in the kitchen for family meals.  Not to mention it seems easier to keep the kitchen cool without those stove burners boiling when it’s 100 degrees outside. 

So, the dinner bells are ringing, and it seems like ordering pizza is the easiest way of getting dinner on the table in a snap.  Aside from the fact that one can easily consume more than a day's worth of sodium in just two slices, those two slices can increase your caloric bank by 700 calories or more - empty calories to be exact. Making pizza nutritious is all about proportion. It is possible to eat pizza without undoing your hard work at a healthy diet. The best way to enjoy a healthy pizza is to make it yourself, since YOU can better control the ingredients.

Build your base- Whole-wheat pizza dough is fiber-packed and delicious, not to mention the added heart healthy benefit of the grain. If whole wheat isn’t your thing, choose a pre-made dough or crust, but be sure to check the label and avoid those that contain Trans fats.

Check what you choose
- Limit greasy meat and cheese toppings to a minimum to keep calories, sodium, and saturated fat in check. Choose a tomato-based sauce over the creamy kind and lose a significant amount of saturated fat and sodium. Also, stick with the leaner cuts of meat, like chicken over sausage or pepperoni. It would even be beneficial to skip the meat all together and load up your pie with a variety of sliced veggies. Substituting low-fat mozzarella for regular cheese lowers saturated fat and cholesterol. Low-fat cheese melt better than fat-free.   For more melting power, mist with cooking spray before baking the pie.

This pizza is a simple and quick to boot. Oven baked BBQ chicken allows for a deliciously lean addition to a store bought crust and pre-made sauce. A sprinkle of bold flavor with sharp white cheddar and finito!  Dinner is ready in an hour or less.

BBQ White Cheddar Chicken Pizza

2 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup barbecue sauce, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 (10 oz) store-bought thin pizza crust (such as Boboli)
3/4 cup (3 oz) sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, vertically sliced

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place chicken on an ungreased baking sheet; spoon 1/3 cup barbecue sauce over chicken. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until chicken is done. Cool; chop and set aside.
Spread remaining sauce evenly over pizza crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Top crust evenly with chicken and remaining ingredients.
Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese melts. Cut into 6 slices.

Nutrition Information: Serves 6 (1 slice each) Calories: 285, Fat: 5.6 g, Carbohydrate: 40 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 16.5 g

If you have a question for the dietitian, visit www.texashealth.org/askamber 

Amber Massey, RD, LD
Registered Dietitian
Executive Health Program
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth

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