Forget delivery—pop one of these delicious pies in the oven.
Frozen pizza gets a bad rap for being extremely processed and loaded with fat—and yes, there are many unhealthy frozen pies—but you can also find plenty of healthy options that you can enjoy as a balanced meal. Whole-grain, cauliflower, and other types of gluten-free crusts have increasingly become popular as a way to get more satiating, hunger-curbing fiber in pizza, but not all store-bought pies that we assume are "healthy" are created equal.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com, and author of Read It Before You Eat It - Taking You from Label to Table, says, "One of the things that is really important to address is that gluten-free pizzas aren't necessarily healthy for you. People still give gluten-free pizzas a health halo, but in reality, they can be loaded with fat and carbs."
Some gluten-free pizzas are made with potato starch, tapioca flour, and modified rice starch, which can increase your blood sugar just as much as white flour. And if they top their pies with unhealthy amounts of cheeses and processed meats, the sodium, fat, and carbs can add up.
Fortunately, you can find healthy frozen pizza options out there by reading the nutrition label and ingredients list carefully. Here are some guidelines from Taub-Dix to keep in mind when shopping for the best frozen pizzas.
- Look for frozen pizzas with crusts made with whole grains, cauliflower, and other vegetables. Crusts made with whole grains, cauliflower, and other veggies are high in fiber and antioxidants. Plus, they make you feel fuller longer.
- Limit added sugars. Some frozen pizza pies will sneak in sugar in the dough or tomato sauce, so try to avoid pies that have added sugar or look for ones with 3 grams or less.
- Be wary of sodium content. Taub-Dix says frozen pizzas topped with pepperoni, sausage, and other fatty meats pile on the salt content, even the uncured, nitrate-free varieties. Note that cheese and the actual pizza crust are also big source of sodium.
- Keep an eye on fat intake. Let's face it: Pizza wouldn't be complete without cheese. Taub-Dix says cheese also adds to the overall protein content, which is a good thing because oftentimes, frozen pizzas can be low in protein. But too much cheese can also cause you to go overboard on fat in one meal, so be sure to be mindful of serving sizes.
- Choose pizzas with veggies as the main topping. It goes without saying that the more veggies you have on your pizza, the healthier it is. Pies dressed with a variety of veggies, like spinach, kale, sweet potato, broccoli, and mushrooms, will help you get a bigger nutritional bang for your buck.
Now that you know how to look for the healthiest slices, here are the best frozen pizzas to pick up at the grocery store.