Order This, Not That: Papa John's

I frequently see commercials for this pizza chain but often wonder if there really is anything I can order that won’t bust my waistline? We’ll give you the cheesy facts so you’ll be prepared on your next visit.
Related To:

Photo by: unknown

unknown

I frequently see commercials for this pizza chain but often wonder if there's really is anything I can order that won’t bust my waistline. We’ll give you the cheesy facts so you’ll be prepared on your next visit.

Nutrition Info

It can get kind of tricky when reading the nutrition information for Papa John’s. The calories listed for most items will give you the per-serving information. This means that their “Pizza for One,” which serves 4 has the calories listed for a quarter of the pie. The same goes for their sides like chicken wings and breadsticks. The calories listed are for a serving size of 2 wings—though 10 are served in each order. So be sure to take a few minutes to decipher their nutrition breakdown when you sift through their website.

ORDER:

Pizza:

Papa John's Garden Fresh Pizza is topped with onions, green peppers, portabella mushrooms, black olives and tomatoes. It’s your best bet to get in some veggies since not many other options on the menu offer them. Remember that if you choose the Pizza for One, the nutrition information is given for one quarter of the pie. The calories for ¼ of the Garden Fresh Pizza for One is 180—which means you can still eat half of it for 360 calories. Though if you gobble down the entire Pizza for One, that’ll add up to 720 calories.

Extras:

Add some spice to your pizza with packet of crushed red pepper or Parmesan cheese. The crushed pepper has 5 calories and 0 milligrams sodium and the cheese has 15 calories and 45 milligrams sodium per packet.

NOT:

Pizza:

If you order an extra-large pie of John’s Favorite loaded with pepperoni, sausage and a 6-cheese blend, one slice will set you back 430 calories and 22 grams fat. Sound harmless? Gobble down one-quarter of the pie (2.5 slices) for 1,075 calories and 55 grams fat or half the pie (5 slices) for 2,150 calories and 110 grams fat.

Sides:

It gets tricky trying to decipher the nutrition information for these dishes. The Parmesan breadsticks contain 340 calories and 10 grams fat per 2 breadsticks but one order has 10 breadsticks. The wings have the same issue with 2 BBQ Wings weighing in at 190 calories and 12 grams fat—though there are 10 wings per serving. If you can stop at 2 wings, then more power to you.

Extras:

The Special Garlic dipping sauce that comes with an original crust pizza racks up 150 calories and 17 grams of fat per cup. If you're a die-hard garlic sauce fan then measure out 4 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) for 37.5 calories and 4.25 grams of fat.

Although the special seasoning has 5 calories per packet, the sodium is 410 milligrams which is 15% of your recommended daily dose. The pizza already has plenty of sodium—there’s no need to add this much more to your meal.

Dessert:

One medium piece of fruit (like an apple or orange) has 60 calories, so when a serving of Papa John’s Apple Pie rang up at 480 calories I was pretty surprised. Skip it and go for some fresh fruit at home.

TELL US: What do you order at Papa John’s?

You Might Also Like:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

Order This, Not That: Pizza

Make better choices at your favorite pizza chains.

Nutrition News: Papa John’s Ingredients, Good Fat, Creative Hydration Tips

Papa John’s to eliminate artificial ingredients and additives, low-fat diets fall out of favor, and hydrating beyond the water bottle.

This Pizza Was Made with 101 Cheeses

A Portland, Oregon, pizza joint took it upon itself to make a 101-cheese pizza, aiming for a new cheese-on-pizza world record.

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: The rise of vegan Thanksgiving, food banks that grow kale and the problem with pizza joints and calorie counts.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

Nutrition news this week about pizza, diabetes and salt.

Guy Gets Pizza Delivered to His Stalled Train

When we’re stuck somewhere in transit and getting increasingly hungry, most of are probably apt to just sit there feeling sorry for ourselves. Not this guy though.

10 Ways to Make a Healthier Pizza

Pizza can go either way: quintessential greasy junk food or healthy combo of fresh ingredients. Here's how to build a pie with a healthier profile.

Pizza Night — Meatless Monday

The ultimate family-friendly meal, pizza is inexpensive, incredibly versatile and can feed a crowd. Get our recipes for a Meatless Monday.

Snacks with 200 Calories (or Fewer!)

Having a snack attack? Forgo the last minute trip to the vending machine and be prepared when hunger strikes with these snacks for fewer than 200 calories.

Food Fight!: Pasta vs. Pizza

These two Italian delights are going head-to-head! See which mouthwatering favorite will come out on top.