It’s March: National Nutrition Month! For 2017, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics slogan is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” I have decided to focus on healthy substitutes to find the best FOODS that are not only healthy, but also similar to our traditional favorite dishes. This way we all can enjoy them guilt free!

Remember French Bread Pizza? That crunchy outside with all the melty cheese and toppings? It was sooo good that we even used to look forward to the school cafeteria version. Today I created a much healthier option, and OMG it was so good that I ate it all up for lunch!

I started with Barely Bread’s garlic and onion baguette. I sliced and toasted the bread, added a few tablespoons of Rao’s marinara sauce, chopped broccoli and orange bell pepper, shredded Organic Valley parmesan cheese, Applegate Farms turkey pepperoni and red chili flakes.  

Then I placed the baguette in the oven on broil until the cheese melted and began to bubble. You could also use a toaster oven for this step. Now eat up and read on!

Here are all the bonus benefits of these ingredients versus the traditional ones:

Barely Bread:
Not only is it gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and have an amazing flavor, the higher protein and good fat content help you feel fuller longer than regular white bread pizza crust.

Rao’s: 
I love this sauce because of its great flavor and no added sugar, which (surprise!?) is often added to sauces sold in the supermarket. (That’s why I say: ALWAYS read ingredient labels!)

Vegetables
Whenever and wherever you can add veggies (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies), just do it.  Not only do they help you meet your vitamin and mineral needs, they are full of fiber which is great for digestion and helping keep you fuller longer.  (FYI:  Orange peppers are great sources of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin B6.  Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and a good source of Vitamin A, folic acid, and potassium.)

Parmesan Cheese: 
Because this is a stronger tasting cheese than the mozzarella traditionally used on pizza, you can use much less of it.  The great news is that it is much easier to digest. Due to its long aging process, much of the protein and the fat has already been broken down, or “pre-digested”. Parmesan also does NOT contain lactose. This means those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy without discomfort as well!  Also, the fat and cholesterol content are much lower in Parmesan than some other cheeses.

Turkey Pepperoni: 
This Applegate Farms product has NO nitrites or nitrates added, no preservatives, and is gluten and casein free. Their meat has no antibiotics and no added hormones. Adding extra protein, especially one with a string flavor, helps with satiety too.

Red Chili Flakes:
These pack a punch of flavor without added salt or calories.  PLUS spicy foods may help increase metabolism.

Enjoy your new French Bread Pizza! I know I will be making this one again soon!

 

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