Healthy Movie Night Food

When April showers hit, create the ultimate cozy “movie night” with these fabulous recipes! This double feature of pizza and popcorn is guilt-free, with reduced-fat whole wheat pizza and light popcorn, made with a skinny secret topping packed with protein and vitamins (B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc). Plus, it’s vegan, gluten-free and tastes better than movie theater popcorn at a fraction of the calories!

“Healthy” Whole Wheat Pizza

Using whole wheat flour improves the nutritional profile of pizza, loading it with complex carbohydrates and nearly all the B-vitamins. This dough freezes well to make preparation easy. Plus, this recipe can make two 12-inch, thin crust pizzas or one fabulous deep-dish pie! Substituting smoked turkey sausage lowers the fat content, and it pairs well with green pepper and mushroom to create a great looking, healthier pizza. To prevent toppings from getting your crust soggy, brush dough with olive oil before adding sauce.


4 cups whole wheat flour

1 packet active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1½ cups warm water

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided



• Place 3½ cups flour in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine sugar, yeast and water. Stir well; let yeast sit for 5 minutes, until foamy. This process is called “proofing” the yeast. If yeast doesn’t dissolve, it is dead. Start process again, with active yeast. Once proofed, add salt, honey and 1 tablespoon olive oil; stir. Pour yeast mixture into flour; mix by hand with spatula until dough comes together (add additional flour if too moist; add additional water if too dry).

• Knead for five minutes on lightly floured surface, until smooth and elastic.

• Place dough ball in large bowl, coated with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Allow dough to rise in a warm place (such as your closed oven, with oven light on), until doubled in size (about 2-3 hours).

• Once risen, punch dough down to release air; divide into two balls, if making thin crust pizza. Let each ball rest for 30 minutes in separate bowls. If desired, freeze dough at this point for later use.

• Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray 12-inch round pizza pan with cooking spray. Shape dough to fit pan, stretching as needed. Brush dough with olive oil.

• Add your favorite toppings, such as reduced-fat turkey sausage, low-fat mozzarella, green peppers and mushrooms.

• Bake for 12-16 minutes, until edges are lightly brown and crispy. Slice and enjoy!


Yield: 8 servings. Per serving: Calories: 164; Fat 2.3g; Carbs: 24.2g; 
Protein 5.3g. Cost Per Serving: $.85.

Skinny Healthy Popcorn (gluten-free & vegan)

Yes, it is possible to have nutritious popcorn that tastes great! The secret? Nutritional yeast. Available at most major grocers, it is packed with protein and vitamins (B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium and zinc). Plus, it is gluten-free and vegan, with no artificial preservatives and an amazing, buttery cheesy flavor!


1/3 cup oil (canola or coconut)

1 cup popcorn kernels

½ cup nutritional yeast (or more, to taste)

1 tablespoon salt


Place oil in large kettle over medium heat, until very warm. Once heated, add kernels so they form single layer on bottom of pan. Cover; shake pan to coat all kernels. Once kernels start to pop vigorously, shake pan every 10 seconds, to prevent burning, until fully popped. Uncover; top with yeast and salt. Cover; shake to coat all kernels. Pour popcorn into large bowl; sprinkle with additional yeast to taste. Serve warm. (Note: You may substitute air-popped popcorn, sprayed with olive oil, then coated with yeast).

Yield: 16 servings. Per serving: Calories: 113; 
Fat 5.2g; Carbs: 18.1g; Protein 3.3. 
Cost Per Serving: $.33.

Suzette Zara is a chef, nutritionist, cookbook author and creator of Satan’s Salsa ( and a frequent speaker on low-fat healthy cooking.