Diabetes Diet: The Lure Of The Low Carb Pizza

Humans have enjoyed eating a bread-like crust topped with sauce, cheese, and other edibles for centuries.

In the sixth century B.C., for instance, Persian soldiers reportedly roasted a type of flat bread on their shields, then covered the bread with cheese and dates.

Three centuries later, Marcus Porcius Cato wrote, in a history of Rome, about a “flat round of dough dressed with olive oil, herbs, and honey baked on stones.”

Jumping to the 16th century, people in Naples enjoyed Neapolitan pies made with flour, olive oil, lard, cheese, tomatoes, and herbs. We can only imagine what they would think of 21st century deep dish pizza-pies piled with three cheeses, veggies, and two or more kinds of meat.

Going Low Carb

Today, individuals eat on average 46 pizza slices per year, and one 12 inch slice of thick-crust with meat and veggies has nearly 40 carb grams, and 319 calories. Yet, with a bit of creativity, those watching carbs or calories can enjoy the flavors of pizza often, without forsaking their glucose targets, or weight-loss goals.

For example, to make lower-carb pizzas we can:

  • Choose thin-crust varieties since most of a pizza’s carbs come from the crust. There are also many whole grain and “alternative” crust recipes online, or look for whole grain options in stores—they still contain carbs, but have more nutrients, and fiber. Low-carb tortillas make good crusts as well, or try wrapping pizza sauce and toppings into a burrito.
  • Look for sugar-free commercially prepared pizza sauces. There aren’t too many available, so patient label reading is required. It’s also quick and inexpensive to make pizza sauce using tomato paste, herbs, and spices.
  • Consider the carb content of different cheeses. Whole milk shredded mozzarella, for instance, has about 2.5 grams carbohydrate in one cup; partial skim mozzarella has a bit more. A cup of shredded regular cheddar has 1.45 grams carbohydrate; low-fat cheddar has about 0.7 grams more. Parmesan contains about one gram of carb per 5 tablespoons of grated cheese.

We can also take advantage of other people’s creative pizza genius by doing an Internet search for “easy low carb pizza recipes.” It will bring up appetizing possibilities such as this tasty taco invention.

Chicken Taco Pizzas

You will need:

  • 2 whole wheat pita bread rounds, split horizontally to make 4 “pies”
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cans (5 oz each) no-salt-added chunk chicken breast, drained
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack and/or cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2/3 cup halved grape tomatoes, or chopped tomato
  • 1 serving of Light Sour Cream Drizzle: stir together 1/4 cup light sour cream with 1 to 2 teaspoons fat-free milk

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place pita halves, cut sides up, on an un-greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Brush the cut sides with oil and bake about 4 minutes, or until light brown and crisp.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the salsa and drained chicken chunks. Spoon the mixture over the toasted pitas, and sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Bake 5 minutes more, or until chicken is heated through and the cheese melts.
  4. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, Light Sour Cream Drizzle, and serve.

Each of the 4 servings provides: 248 cal, 9 g total fat, 22 g carb (3 g fiber, 2 g sugars), 23 g protein, 483 mg sodium.

Sources: What’s Cooking America; Very Well; Diabetic Living Online; Statistics Brain; fatsecret/pizza; fatsecret/cheese
Photo credit: j bizzie

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