Stacking food pyramid onto a pizza? It's tasty


September 14, 1993|By Colleen Pierre, R.D. | Colleen Pierre, R.D.,Contributing Writer

You'll enjoy low-fat foods more if you focus on freshness and intensify seasonings.

Take pizza, for example. A frozen "deluxe" pizza-for-one containing all the goodies, like meat, cheese and vegetables, contains about 600 calories and 32 grams of fat.

But, in about 10 minutes, you can build a "pyramid pizza" that's a gourmet treat, fits comfortably within low-fat guidelines and provides a substantial portion of your day's nutrition.

Begin with a base of grains. Use a 4-ounce Boboli shell. At 300 calories and 7 grams of fat, it equals three grain servings and one dairy food, since it contains about an ounce of cheese.

Pile on the veggies. Start with about 1/4 cup of fat-free pizza sauce for classic pizza flavor. Then add fresh onions, green peppers, sliced mushrooms and quartered artichoke hearts. You may want to steam the veggies for a minute or two before piling them on your pizza. Top with slices of two large black olives and a ripe plum tomato.

Have a little meat. For each pizza, brown about 2 ounces of ground turkey breast. To replace the "heat" you usually get from pepperoni, sprinkle on ground cayenne pepper to taste. (Careful!) To replace the "sweet" from Italian sausage, add a pinch of anise seed.

Add herbs for fuller flavor.

Use scissors to mince fresh basil, thyme and oregano directly onto the meat and veggies. Non-gardeners can buy fresh herbs in many grocery stores.

Fresh out? Add dried herbs to the pizza sauce, so they moisten before cooking. A tiny pinch of each will vastly improve flavor.

And don't forget the garlic. For really intense taste, press fresh garlic, then spread it on the tomato slices. Or buy chopped garlic in jars in your produce department. Failing that, sprinkle on garlic hTC powder. Afraid of garlic breath? Check your produce department for "breathless" garlic.

Finish with low-fat cheese. Add 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) of shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese for a big dose of calcium and only 6 grams of fat.

Place pizza directly on the oven rack in a heated 450 degree oven. Put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch spills. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

The Boboli-based pizza provides the same 600 calories as the frozen "deluxe" pizza, but only 17 grams of fat. For women, that's about one-third of your day's calories and 28 percent of your day's fat. For men, that's about 20 percent of your calories and 18 percent of your fat. So men might want to eat two.

Pyramid pizza is a delicious, flavor-intense way to get half your day's calcium and two-thirds of your vegetables, too.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore.

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