On any given day in the United States, more than 42 million Americans eat pizza, according to the USDA. If you're trying to save money or improve the nutritional quality of the pizza you serve your family, you may consider making your own pizza using frozen pizza dough.
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Defrosting your frozen pizza dough isn't hard, but may require a little planning ahead. Otherwise, you may be calling your favorite pizza restaurant for a delivery.
Read more: 7 Healthier Pizza Recipes to Make at Home
Pizza and Health
The United States isn't the only country that loves pizza. The USDA says pizza is the world's most popular food. A mix of bread, savory sauce and cheese, it's no wonder pizza is a global favorite.
Pizza may be a delicious international superstar, but it's not always the healthiest option on the menu. Pizza is high in calories, fat and sodium. Although nutrition information varies, one-third (260 grams) of a take-and-bake cheese pizza has 671 calories, 33 grams of protein, 37 grams of total fat, 53 grams of carbohydrates and 1,760 milligrams of sodium.
The same serving of thin crust cheese pizza from a popular fast food pizza restaurant isn't much different from the take-and-bake pizza with 774 calories, 32 grams of protein, 39 grams of total fat, 73 grams of carbohydrates and 1,632 milligrams of sodium.
According to a February 2015 study published in Pediatrics, pizza is a major contributor of calories, fat and sodium in the diets of children and teens in the U.S. Too many calories may lead to weight gain, and too much fat and sodium can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease. The authors of the study suggest curbing pizza consumption and improving its nutrient content to reduce health risks.
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Benefits of Homemade Pizza
Using frozen pizza dough to make your own pizza at home may help curb your intake of calories, fat and sodium because it puts you in control of what goes on your pizza.
According to nutrition information from the USDA, a 2-ounce serving of frozen dough, without sauce or cheese, has 110 calories, 3 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of total fat, 23 grams of carbohydrates and 230 milligrams of sodium. To up the nutritional quality of your dough, choose a brand made with whole-wheat flour and as few ingredients as possible.
When it comes to topping your frozen pizza dough, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends:
- Using a tomato-based sauce.
- Loading up on veggies.
- Cutting back on cheese.
- Adding healthier meats such as chicken, shrimp or Canadian bacon.
Instead of topping your pizza with Parmesan cheese, use red pepper flakes to add more flavor without the sodium.
Read more: How to Make Pizza With Pre-Made Dough
Defrosting Frozen Pizza Dough
When it comes to defrosting frozen food, it's always better to play it safe. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says that as soon as raw or cooked meat, poultry or egg products reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the bacteria in the food starts to multiply, increasing your risk of foodborne illness. Though your frozen pizza dough may not contain meat, poultry or egg products, there's always a possibility of cross-contamination.
Refrigerator thawing is one of the safest ways to defrost frozen pizza dough. However, it takes some planning because it may take several hours for your frozen dough to defrost so you can make your crust. To ensure you don't need to order take-out, defrost your frozen pizza dough overnight in your refrigerator.
You can also defrost your frozen dough in a cold water bath as long as your dough is in a well-sealed container. Place your sealed dough in a bowl filled with cold water and change the water every 30 minutes until your dough has thawed.
It's also possible to defrost your frozen pizza dough on the counter. Your frozen dough may take about one and a half to two hours to defrost. Don't let your raw dough sit out for too long, though. Any food left at room temperature for more than two hours may increase your risk of getting sick and should be discarded.
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- USDA: "Consumption of Pizza"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Pizza"
- USDA FoodData Central: "DOMINO'S 14" Cheese Pizza, Crunchy Thin Crust"
- Pediatrics: "Energy and Nutrient Intake From Pizza in the United States"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Pizza Dough"
- Food and Nutrition: "Get a Healthier Pizza on the Dinner Table"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Safe Defrosting Methods"