The Best Healthy Frozen Pizzas for When You Need a Night In
Healthy Frozen Pizza Does Exist
Pizza is everyone's favorite quick and easy meal option. But picking up a pie from your neighborhood pizzeria, will likely mean calories, carbs, and fats are going to be through the roof. Tossing in a frozen pizza might seem like the no-brainer alternative, but with so many options in the freezer aisle, how do you know which is the healthiest?
"Choosing a thinner crust will greatly cut calories," says Ginger Hultin, M.S., R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Choose an option that has veggies on it, like bell peppers, tomato, spinach, and mushrooms. Avoid cream sauces, extra cheese, or processed meat like sausage or pepperoni, which can greatly increase saturated fat and sodium." (These tips work just as well when picking a healthier delivery-style pizza, too, BTW.)
When you're checking out the frozen pizza section in the grocery store, "start by reading the label to see what an appropriate serving size is," says Hultin. "Stick with the portion listed on the label and increase the volume of your meal by serving a big, green salad on the side to get extra veggies and increase fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants." Also, peep the sodium content. "Some servings of pizza can have upwards of 600mg per serving, so assess how the amount of sodium in your frozen pizza fits into the rest of your day considering other foods you'll have," she says. As a rule of thumb, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300mg of sodium a day, and an ideal limit for most adults is no more than 1,500 mg per day.
Don't want to spend hours scouring the store freezers? Look no further. Here, seven dietitian-approved healthy frozen pizzas that fit the bill. (Or go the DIY route and whip up one of these healthy homemade pizza recipes.)
Smart Flour Foods
This brand is gluten-free and uses certified ancient grains (non-GMO, non-hybridized grains) as well as uncured pepperoni and other meats," says Laura B. LaValle, R.D.N., L.D. "It's very good taste-wise, and the crust bakes up nice. I like that they have a chicken sausage option. In frozen pizza options, I look for high-quality ingredients, like organic ingredients and nitrite-free (uncured) meats," she says.
DiGiorno Thin & Crispy Pizza: Garden Vegetable
One serving (1/3 pizza) is only 210 calories, 10g fat, 23g carbs, and you still get 2g of fiber, says Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., author of The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook
. "Thanks to the thinner crust, this one has fewer calories than many other frozen pizzas. Plus, it provides 15 percent of the daily recommended calcium per serving," she says, which can build strong bones. "It's also fabulous to have vegetables as part of the pizza, adding even more nutrition," she says. (Related: The Best Calcium Sources for Vegans)
A tip? Always serve with a vegetable, or top it with protein like grilled chicken. "Make your pizza night healthier by adding more veggies in a starter salad or upping the protein by topping your pizza with leftover bite-size pieces of chicken breast," she says.
Amy's Barbecue Pizza
Great news, BBQ lovers: All the dietitians we spoke to agreed that Amy's was a winning option. "Amy's brand offers all kinds of vegetarian and allergen-friendly pizza offerings. For a completely different type of pizza, try Amy's Barbecue with spicy tofu, spinach, and red onion on top," says Dana Angelo White, M.S., R.D., author of Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook
. "Protein and veggies on pizza are never bad choices," she adds, so look for those in the freezer aisle. Plus, if you're new to tofu, this is a great way to make it taste amazing, thanks to the organic spices and smoky flavor. A serving has 13g of protein, and all those veggies provide fiber and iron.
Try it: Amy's Barbecue Pizza
Cali'flour Foods Cauliflower Pizza Crust
"These pizza crusts only have five ingredients, are gluten-free and grain-free, and only have 180 calories for the entire pizza," says Brooke Zigler, R.D.N., L.D. "These crusts have an incredible flavor—you would never know that they're made from cauliflower." They also come in a variety of flavors, such as Original Italian, Spicy Jalapeño, and Sweet Red Pepper, so you can change it up regularly. Compared with regular pizza crust, which can typically have around 36g of carbs per serving, these cauliflower crusts slash that number substantially, with just 2g of carbs per serving.
Caulipower Veggie Pizza
Another cauliflower crust FTW. Top it with thinly sliced chicken or lean chicken sausage, says Edwina Clark, M.S., R.D., a sports dietetics specialist. "Made on a cauliflower base, this pizza is gluten-free and provides 3g of fiber per serving, which is more than many other frozen pizza options," she says. The protein content is on the low side, with only 10g per 1/2 pizza serving, but adding smoked salmon, albacore tuna, tofu, or sliced beef can easily increase protein content (and satiety) without loading up on saturated fat.
Try it: Caulipower Veggie Pizza
California Pizza Kitchen Gluten-Free Margherita
"This pizza earns top marks in the gluten-free category," says Maggie Michalczyk, Chicago-based registered dietitian. "The ingredients are totally recognizable, and the sugar and sodium are lower than what you would see in other pizzas. A 1/3-pie serving has less than 200 calories, and the best part is you can enjoy that California Pizza Kitchen flavor, in your pajamas on a Friday night."
Daiya Fire-Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Daiya pizzas are a delicious option for vegans and non-vegans alike. "There aren't a lot of plant-based pizzas in the supermarket aisle, primarily because of the cheeses that are commonly included on them, as well as the meats," says Sharon Palmer, R.D.N. "However, Daiya has a whole line of plant-based pizzas with meat-free crumbles and sausages (they are also gluten-free). I love the Fire Roasted Vegetable and the Meatless Meat Lovers pizza," says Palmer.