Contributor: Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE
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Q: Is it healthier to make pizza with a cauliflower crust or a whole-wheat crust?
A: If you’re considering cauliflower crust, you’re probably hoping to lose weight by cutting down on carbs and calories. Are you more likely to achieve your goal with cauliflower crust than with whole-grain crust?
That depends. Choosing the best pizza crust requires a bit of detective work. Luckily, all the clues you need are in clear sight — on the product’s label.
Every product is different. Some cauliflower crusts are higher in calories and may have just as many carbs as a thin, 100% whole-wheat pizza crust.
Alternative crusts that are high in calories won’t help you with weight loss, since calories have the most direct impact on weight. If too many of your calories come from fat and protein, you can gain weight — even when you’re on a low-carb diet.
Also, when food companies try to make traditional carbohydrate-based foods out of low-carb vegetables, nutritional chaos can ensue. For example, some manufacturers add extra saturated fat in the form of cheese to make cauliflower crust bind together and taste better.
So be sure to read the ingredients list and nutrition facts to make your judgment call. Factor in the serving size (which varies from product to product), and review the calories, total carbs, saturated fat and fiber.
Remember, food should taste good, and alternative ingredients can make a product’s quality suffer. For example, your cauliflower pizza may have a soggy bottom.
Personally, I like pizza crust that tastes (and feels) like crust, so I choose thin, 100% whole-wheat crust. I put my veggies on top, rather than getting them in the crust. Together, the whole-grain crust and veggies maximize the fiber.
I would ditch the processed meats, and top the crust with tomato sauce, some fresh mozzarella, a medley of vegetables, and fresh basil. Then round out your meal with a side of roasted veggies or a fresh, vibrant salad. This will help to boost nutrients and minimize the saturated fat and calories from the cheese.
Pizza is one of our holiest indulgences. It’s fine to enjoy from time to time in moderation. Rather than eating it mindlessly as you watch TV, take your time, and savor one or two slices.