Healthy Cheesy Calzones

Corn & Broccoli Calzone is proof that you need not feel deprived on a healthy diet—you can still enjoy a calzone! This healthy version has 350 calories and just 3 grams of saturated fat—plus calcium, vitamins A and C. Nonfat ricotta and a bit of melted mozzarella go a long way to reduce the saturated fat normally found in a calzone. And each calzone has plenty of veggies from corn and chopped broccoli (and even more if you serve them with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping).

The same principles we used to make over this calzone also apply to pizzas, since a calzone is basically a pizza folded in half.
8 easy tips for making pizza and calzones healthy:

* Use whole-wheat dough because it has more fiber and nutrients. Make your own or buy it at many supermarkets. Some pizza joints even sell balls of dough. I like to keep a few stocked in my freezer and then defrost them when I’m in the mood for pizza or calzone.

* Check the ingredient label if you buy pizza dough to make sure it doesn’t contain any partially hydrogenated fat.

* If you include tomato sauce, beware of the sodium content in store-bought versions. We call for prepared marinara sauce in this quick Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Calzone.

* Add vegetables. Pizza and calzone are great ways to get extra veggies, especially for picky eaters. This works well in our recipe for Caramelized Onion & Artichoke Pizza.

* If you’re a pepperoni lover, try turkey pepperoni. You’ll be surprised at how good it is. Or switch up your meat of choice in a recipe like Thai Chicken Pizza.

* Cheese can really jack up the calories and fat in pizza and calzone. (Of course, cheese also happens to be the best part!) So use a little less cheese to keep it healthy. And try using really flavorful cheese; a little goes a long way.

* Use reduced-fat cheese with caution, as some of it doesn’t melt very well. Reduced-fat ricotta and mozzarella work great. But reduced-fat Cheddar, for example, gets a little rubbery and unappetizing. It’s better to use a little less of real full-flavor extra-sharp Cheddar or any full-flavored cheese, like in this recipe for Greens & Gorgonzola Pizza.

* Get creative. Have fun and experiment with pizza and calzone in ways that happen to improve them nutritionally. Using beans, pureed in the food processor, as the sauce for a nacho-inspired pizza, is a great example.

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