While still in the warm, south Florida weather, it is a challenge to think about what foods go well on a chilly, Winter night. Although, when it comes to pizza and a movie in my household, that’s the easy part. What’s in a pizza? In its most basic form you have the crust, red sauce and a whole lot of cheese! Yet for the sake of being fit and healthy, here’s how to make a clean eating pizza for Winter movie nights.

What does it mean to eat clean? Typically it means, more water, more fresh produce, less sugar and processed foods, lean proteins (vegetarian options too), non-refined carbohydrate choices, such as brown rice and sweet potatoes and herbs and spices for amazing flavor boosts.

People choose to eat clean so they can lead healthier lives, slimmer physique and to potentially reduce their medication overload. Eating clean can truly be a lifestyle as opposed to simply following the latest fad diet.

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How can a typical greasy, meaty, extra cheese pizza be transformed into a clean eating pizza? It can be if your choices of toppings are colorful, the crust is nutrient dense, and the pizza is completely home made.

Starting with the dough, or crust, think of ways to boost nutritional value and consider making your own as opposed to buying one from the supermarket. Choosing a recipe for a whole wheat crust or one made with cauliflower is a great place to start.

Cauliflower pizza crust

– 1 head cauliflower
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– 1 tsp dried parsley
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Grease a large baking sheet, cover with parchment paper and grease the top of the parchment paper. Cut cauliflower florets so they fit into a food processor; pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice and amounts to approximately 4 cups. Place “rice” into a microwave-safe bowl along with a small amount of water, cover and microwave for 30-60 seconds.

This will soften the cauliflower. Allow to cool and remove as much water as possible. Mix in the herbs, spices and egg; blend well. Place mixture onto parchment paper and make your desired sized pizza crust, molding a slightly thicker outer ring to keep your toppings contained. Bake for 35-40 minutes, depending on your oven, as temperatures do vary.

During the last 5-10 minutes, flip crust over so as to completely bake; allowing to come to a crispy texture. Remove from oven; cool for 5 minutes then add toppings. Place pizza back into oven and bake for 4-5 minutes. (Note: Looking for a vegan crust? Check out this recipe!)

clean eating pizza_2

Pizza toppings

For toppings it is best to think about fresh ingredients such as a variety of seasonal vegetables, ripe, plump tomatoes and even fruit! Meats are ok as long as you choose lean cuts or vegetarian choices.

When using herbs and spices, go for fresh first because they not only add immense flavor but your house will smell amazing, too. For some people, a pizza wouldn’t be a pizza without cheese. Your choice for cheese should be organic and used sparingly.

Pepper pizza

Top your favorite choice of crust with red sauce, hot peppers, sliced bell peppers of all colors, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, fresh thyme, oregano and basil, and your favorite cheese.

Kids clean choice

Top a whole grain crust with red sauce, shaved carrots, black beans, chopped broccoli florets, spinach, turkey pepperoni and cheese. Be sure to get the kids involved with adding the toppings, too!

Vegetarian’s favorite

Give the cauliflower crust a try and top it with red sauce, thick slices of zucchini and yellow winter squash, black beans, fresh parsley and basil leaves, organic corn, with dollops of hummus.

Lean meat lovers

Top crust with red sauce and sprinkle with crushed pepper, then add cooked chicken sausage, turkey pepperoni, cooked and shredded barbecue chicken, chopped peppers and onions, and choice of organic cheese.

Sweet pizza

Top off a whole grain crust with red sauce that has been mixed with a teaspoon of turmeric, chopped apples and pineapple, sliced portobello mushrooms, pine nuts and feta cheese.

Hopefully this will inspire you to choose a clean eating pizza over a take out for your next Winter movie night! They are loaded with nutrition, will keep you lean and when everyone is involved, it will bring some added fun into your movie night.

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