There aren’t many people who do not enjoy a good piece of pizza. Unfortunately, there are many who have a hard time eating it due to special dietary needs. Some must adhere to special diets for health reasons, while others must avoid certain ingredients to keep from becoming ill or having an allergic reaction.
With increased awareness of dietary issues in recent years, a growing number of pizzerias have developed recipes to accommodate their customers with special dietary needs. You can easily create such pizzas at home as well. Here are some suggestions for those with common health issues.
Low Carb Diets
Some people go on a low carb diet in an effort to lose weight. Others must do so to help prevent blood sugar fluctuations due to diabetes. Whatever the reason may be, the average pizza is not a good choice for these individuals since it consists primarily of bread, which is loaded with carbohydrates.
The good news is that low carb pizza crusts do exist. A growing number are available in grocery stores and from pizzerias that you can simply take home, top and bake. You can also use a low carb crust recipe to make your own. These recipes replace the wheat flour that is normally used with flax seed, rice flour or some other type of flour.
The only other part of a pizza that is a major source of concern for carb watchers is the sauce. Surprisingly, most ready-made pizza sauces have sugar in them. Check labels to find one that has little or no sugar, or make your own.
Gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, can cause some pretty unpleasant symptoms. Gluten is found in most foods that contain wheat, including pizza crust. But gluten-free flours have become readily available, and refrigerated gluten-free pizza dough is also becoming more common.
Dairy Allergies and Intolerance
Most pizza crusts do not contain dairy products, so the biggest concern for those who have issues with milk is the cheese. There are plenty of milk-free cheeses on the market, but it’s important to remember that they do not melt as well as regular cheese. If you try to melt them completely, you’ll end up burning your pizza’s crust.
There are also a number of alternatives to cheese that are great on pizza. You can add marinara sauce, basil and olive oil to pizza crust for an old Italian favorite. Dairy-free pesto is another excellent choice. If you’re not adamant about keeping with Italian traditions, other topping options include hummus, barbecue sauce or shellfish.
It’s easy to avoid meat as a topping on your pizza. But animal products are frequently found in other parts of the dish as well. Cheese is the most obvious, but some pizza doughs and sauces contain animal fats. So it’s important to read ingredient lists carefully and ask questions if you don’t find the information you’re looking for. Of course, you can always make your pizza from scratch, giving you complete control over what’s in it.