Order This, Not That: Pizza

Make better choices at your favorite pizza chains.
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Pizza is one of the most-popular foods in the country. Eating a slice can help you get your recommended daily amount of at least three food groups: grains, dairy and vegetables. But some pizza-joint options can also be unfriendly to your waistline. A standard plain slice can start at 400 calories — and that’s without any toppings. Here are menu options from popular chains that can sabotage your healthy eating plan, and the better-for-you choices on those same menus.

Order This:

At Papa John’s the smaller pies have smaller-sized slices, which means fewer calories. Plus, you’ll get a healthy dose of low-calorie veggies. Each of the eight slices in a medium Garden Fresh pie weighs in at 200 calories.

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of a medium pie, or 106 g): 200 calories; 7 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 8 g protein; 27 g carbohydrates; 690 mg sodium

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Order the Garden Fresh extra-large pie and each of the 10 slices has 290 calories — that’s 90 extra calories per slice! Eat two or three slices and the calories can quickly add up. Unless you did some research, you would never know that the larger-sized pie has larger slices.

Nutrition information per serving (1/10 of an extra-large pie, or 160 grams): 290 calories; 9 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 11 g protein; 41 g carbohydrates; 730 mg sodium

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A slice of the 12-inch thin-crust ham and pineapple pizza will get you some extra fruit and lean meat for reasonable calories.

Nutrition Info (1/4 of a 12-inch thin-crust pie): 290 calories; 13 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 610 mg sodium

Not This:

Handmade pan pizza may sound healthier, but it just means a thicker crust (and more calories). Using the Domino’s online nutrition calculator, it appears as if the thin-crust ham-and-pineapple pizza and handmade pan ham-and-pineapple pizza have around the same calories. Take a closer look and you’ll see that the site displays a smaller portion for the handmade pie compared with the thin-crust one. Just a reminder to always double-check the serving size when comparing slices or pies.

Nutrition information per serving (1/4 of a 12-inch handmade pan pizza): 590 calories; 26 g fat; 15 g saturated fat; 22 g protein; 60 g carbohydrates; 1,040 mg sodium

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No matter which type of pizza you order, the type of crust can make all the difference. A 12-inch medium thin-crust BBQ Lover’s pizza has 240 calories per each of its eight slices. This pizza is made with barbecue sauce topped with hardwood-smoked bacon, slow-roasted ham and seasoned pork.

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of an medium thin-crust BBQ Lover’s pizza): 240 calories; 10 g fat; 4.5 g saturated fat; 10 g protein; 25 g carbohydrates; 650 mg sodium

Not This:

Think you’re eating fewer calories by ordering an individual pizza? The BBQ Lover’s 6-inch personal pan pizza will bust your waistline with 740 calories — and that’s without appetizers, beverages or dessert.

Nutrition information per serving (6-inch personal pan pizza): 740 calories; 36 g fat; 14 g saturated fat; 30 g protein; 74 g carbohydrates; 1,590 mg sodium

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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