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

Nutrition news this week about pizza, diabetes and salt.

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.

Pizza Picks for Your Wednesday-Before-Thanksgiving Dinner

The night before Thanksgiving, who has time to make dinner? Here are some of the best pizza spots across the country — no reservations required.

One-Pot Wonder: Easy Pizza for Two

Cozy up with Le French Oven by Hillary Davis and you'll find yourself loving every delicious bite of the last cold days of winter.

Arugula Pesto Pizza with Zucchini — Meatless Monday

Peppery arugula takes the place of traditional basil in this simple pesto, which acts as the sauce atop Food Network Magazine's wow-worthy pizza.

Robin's Healthy Take: Top It! Healthy Pizza-Topping Recipes

Robin Miller's make-ahead, healthy pizza recipes.

150-Calorie Snacks

Snacks are an important part of a well-balanced diet and should contain healthy nutrients like calcium, protein, whole grains, vitamins or minerals. Aim for 1 to 2 snacks per day that are around 150 calories each. Skip those expensive snack packs and try these ten filling 150 calorie snacks instead.