Since 40+ million Americans eat pizza on any given day, we decided it’s time to turn one of the nation’s favorite junk foods into a meal with more merit. Your average slice packs in more fat, sodium and refined “bad” carbs than can ever be claimed healthy. Enter the deep dish arena and you run the risk of piling 770 calories onto your plate in just one slice. Yikes!
Luckily, pizza has the potential to be an award-winning meal if you power it up with the right ingredients and give its crust some care. In fact, it presents the perfect platform to load up on summer veggies, which you’ll see in many of the recipes included below. Let your mood and your meal help you choose which to try first!
8 recipes to power up your pizza:
“Hey June, don’t make it bad.
Take a sad diet and make it better.
Remember to let produce into your bowl.
Then you can start to make it better.”
In honor of National Fruit & Vegetable Month, we’re calling on the Beatles for a little celebration. (If it’s sounding like we drank too much carrot juice and you have no idea what we’re referencing, you best take a few moments to watch the original Hey Jude.) The month’s farm-to-fork designation has officially made June our favorite time of year.
- A study released this past March suggests people who eat up to 7 servings of fruit & vegetables a day can cut their risk of premature death by 42%. Um, yes peas!
- The unfortunate news? Research shows most people are consuming less than half of what the government recommends. And when we do plate up on produce, the #1 items in America are potatoes and tomatoes — in the not-so-nutritious forms of french fries and pizza, according to a report from the U.S. Dpt. of Agriculture. With that comes a hefty side of fat and sodium.
- Are your readings showing high blood pressure? Filling up on produce lowers blood pressure and your risk for type 2 diabetes since fiber tempers blood-sugar swings by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals.
- They’re also packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, and a recent study released by the American Heart Association suggests with every 200 grams per day, you could cut your risk of stroke by 1/3.
We could have a never-ending sing-off about the benefits of fruits and veggies. Instead, however, we’re going to move on and highlight some of this month’s prime produce.
- Strawberries: 8 medium-sized berries yield 150% daily value (DV) of vitamin C at just 50 calories. That sounds pretty sweet to us, as does this recipe for Fish Tacos with Strawberry Mango Salsa.
- Sugarsnap Peas: This hybrid of both a green pea and a snow pea is known for its high levels of B vitamins, which help your body convert food to energy. Pair them with shrimp and toss over brown rice in this light coconut curry recipe for a satisfying meal.
- Spinach: Spinach is a vitamin K superstar, a vitamin essential for bone health. One cup contains nearly 200% DV, and also contains twice the amount of iron as most other greens, which is important for keeping your energy levels up. Serve this Spinach and Pumpkin Seed Pesto over whole wheat pasta for a Popeye and LifeVest approved meal.