The Healthiest Frozen Foods in the Supermarket: Margherita Pizza
It's hard to top the delicious simplicity of a good tomato-mozzarella-basil pizza, so we couldn't wait to check out this category. Surprisingly, none of the pizzas we tried had the traditional fresh mozzarella slices that Margherita pizza is known for - all had shredded mozzarella instead - but this didn't prevent us from finding a few favorites that met our taste and nutrition standards.
Taste Test Winner:
The fresh tomato-cheese combo on the thin, crispy crust was simple perfection; in fact, the tomatoes tasted like they were chopped just before the pizza hit the oven. The multigrain crust had a crisp, nutty undertone thanks to flaxseed and whole oat flour, and a light tomato sauce let the cheese and basil flavors shine through and didn't overpower. This is a good choice if you're not a big of a lot of sauce. $7.99, vegetarian
Serving size: ⅓ of pizza
Calories 280; Fat 12g (sat 4.5g); Protein 12g; Carb 31g; Fiber 3g; Sugars 2g; Chol 25mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 650mg; Calc 250mg
Others We Liked:
The hearty, multi-grain crust serves as a sturdy base to chopped tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan. The sauce had a balsamic vinegar tone which nicely balanced the rich cheese. The only negative we could find is that the tomatoes were a little watery. However, this didn't stop our tasters from eating it. $7.29, gluten-free, vegetarian
Serving size: ⅓ of pizza
Calories 220; Fat 9g (sat 3.5g); Protein 8g; Carb 28g; Fiber 1g; Sugars 2g; Chol 15mg; Iron 0mg; Sodium 470mg; Calc 150mg
The Roma tomato sauce was tangy, not sweet, which complimented the whole milk and provolone cheese blend well. The pizza crust is made with the company's own "Smart Flour", a unique blend of of ancient, mostly whole, grains including amaranth, teff, and sorghum. This was the sauciest of our favorites, but the hearty crusty could support it. $6.99, gluten-free, vegetarian
Serving size: ½ of pizza
Calories 330; Fat 13g (sat 6g); Protein 12g; Carb 43g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 5g; Chol 30mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 800mg; Calc 250mg
The thicker crust is delicious thanks to a light dusting of a Parmesan-herb seasoning. The tomatoes had a great fresh flavor, and the sauce had a nice undertone of roasted garlic. A few found the dried herbs a little overpowering, but most liked the pizza overall if you like a thicker crust. The only downside we found to this pizza was the smaller serving size; splitting a pizza with five people is hard to do. $7.99, vegetarian
Serving size: ⅕ of pizza
Calories 310; Fat 11g (sat 6g); Protein 14g; Carb 39g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 9g; Chol 25mg; Iron 3mg; Sodium 650mg; Calc 250mg
Things to Look For:
- Whole Grains: Unfortunately, it's still rare to find a 100% whole grain crust, but you can find pizzas with some whole grains. Look for the word "whole"; in front of the grain or flour and near the top of the list of the ingredients list. Also, check gluten-free options that occasionally use brown rice and other whole grain, gluten-free flour blends in place of refined wheat.
- Serving Size: The number of slices you get per serving can differ greatly among brands, so check the serving size when checking out the nutrition facts to make sure it's a realistic amount and worth the calories.
- Saturated Fat: Plenty of cheese is an absolute must on pizza, but the saturated fat in it can add up quickly. Keep sat fat to a minimum by looking for one with ⪯ 7g saturated fat if divided into 3 servings; aim for ⪯ 5g saturated fat if cut into 4 servings.
How We Tested
Only frozen foods that met Cooking Light’s nutrition guidelines were tested. Products were eliminated based on the following: lack of calorie and/or protein adequacy, lack of whole grains, presence of trans fat or hydrogenation, presence of significant added sugars, and presence of artificial coloring or sweeteners. All frozen foods were cooked according to package directions and taste tested by a panel of Cooking Light editors and staff. To ensure consistency, Breville microwaves were used to cook all foods.