7 Ways To Cut Down On Pizza Calories

Save-Pizza-CaloriesHave you had “a slice” recently?  If you did, consider it one of the 46 slices that American men, women, and children eat, on average, in a year.

We eat a lot of pizza:

  • 94% of Americans eat pizza regularly
  • Pizzerias represent 17% of all restaurants and pizza accounts for more than 10% of all food service sales
  • Kids 3 to 11 prefer pizza over other food groups for both lunch and dinner
  • In the US, 61% prefer regular thin crust, 14% prefer deep-dish, and 11% prefer extra thin crust
  • 62% of Americans prefer meat toppings; 38% prefer vegetables
  • 36% order pizza topped with pepperoni

What’s Good, What’s Not-So-Good?

It’s difficult to estimate the number of calories and fat grams in a slice of pizza because the size and depth of the pies and the amount of cheese, meat, or other toppings vary enormously.

Here’s the good news: pizza can be a healthy food choice filled with complex carbs, B-vitamins, calcium, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin C and calorically okay if you choose wisely and don’t eat more than your fair share.

The not so good news:  fat and calories. If your mouth starts to water at the thought of golden brown crust and cheesy goodness — here’s the downer: that luscious pizza can be a fat and calorie nightmare.

Mall Pizza Can Be Okay — And Not Okay

  • Sbarro’s Low Carb Cheese Pizza has 310 calories and 14 grams of fat.
  • Sbarro’s Low Carb Sausage/Pepperoni Pizza has 560 calories and 35 grams of fat.
  • A slice of Sbarro’s Fresh Tomato Pizza clocks in at 450 calories with 14 grams of fat.
  • Any of Sbarro’s “Gourmet” pizzas have between 610 and 780 calories a slice and more than 20 grams of fat.
  • “Stuffed” pizzas are even worse—790 calories minimum and over 33 grams of fat per slice.

The membership warehouse club Costco has 416 domestic locations, and most of them have a food court that sells pizza, making Costco the 15th largest pizza chain in the US. They serve a whole lot of pizza and a whole lot of calories.

A single slice of Costco pizza is estimated to have 804 calories, 342 of them from fat.

Build a Better Slice of Pizza

Although we all have our own pizza preferences, the next time you order try some of these tricks to keep your choice on the healthy side:

  1. Order thin crust rather than a thick doughy or deep dish crust.
  2. Resist the urge to ask for double cheese  — better yet, go light on the cheese or use reduced-fat cheese (if they have it).
  3. Ask for a pizza without cheese but topped with veggies and a little olive oil. You can always sprinkle on a little grated parmesan – 1 tablespoon has 22 calories — for flavor.
  4. Instead of cheese go for big flavors:  onion, garlic, olives (use them somewhat sparingly because of the oil but they’re a whole lot better than meat).  And don’t forget anchovies  — a lot of flavor for minimal calories – but you have to like them!
  5. Choose vegetable toppings instead of meat (think about the fat content in sausage, pepperoni, and meatballs) and you might shave 100 calories from your meal. Pile on veggies like mushrooms, peppers, olives, tomatoes, onion, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus. Some places have salad pizza – great if it’s not loaded with oil.
  6. Order a salad (careful with the dressing) on the side and cut down on the amount of pizza.  Salad takes longer to eat, too.
  7. If you’re willing (and not embarrassed or grossed out), try blotting up the free-floating oil that sits on top of a greasy slice. Blotting (it’s easy to do this on the kind of hot slice where the oil runs down your arm) can soak up a teaspoon of oil worth 40 calories and 5 grams of fat.

This is the fifth week of the lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks challenge.  How are you doing?  Let us know on Facebook — and remember to “Like” Eat Out Eat Well when you’re there! Visit Eat Out Eat Well’s boards on Pinterest, too.


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4 Responses to 7 Ways To Cut Down On Pizza Calories

  1. Tammy Houston February 22, 2018 at 9:33 pm #

    Of the things that you mentioned, what caught my attention the most was how you suggested resisting the need to ask for double cheese as well as ordering a thin crust pizza rather than a thick dough crust if I want to eat pizza healthily. I will be sure to write that down because my sister has asked me last week to accompany her on her birthday. Knowing how much she loves pizza, I know that we will end up eating one. At least, now I know what to do to not ruin my diet and not break my sister’s heart at the same time. Thank you!

  2. Juris Ainsworth February 23, 2018 at 10:00 pm #

    It sure got my attention when you said that if I really do want to eat pizza in a healthy manner one of the best ways to do so was to replace the meat toppings with vegetable because doing so can easily cut 100 calories from the meal. Currently, I am on a diet, so I will surely give that tip of yours a try. My sister has invited me to a pizza dinner this Saturday, and I cannot refuse her offer because I do not want to break her heart. Now I know how to save myself and my diet. Thank you so much!

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