Seven Ways To Cut Down On Pizza Calories

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If your mouth starts watering at the thought of melted cheese and pepperoni or veggies on some kind of crust, take comfort that you fit the stats:

  • [Tweet “American men, women, and children eat, on average, 46 slices of pizza a year.”]
  • 94% of Americans eat pizza regularly
  • 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.

Is Pizza Junk Food?

Pizza can be a pretty good food – both in calories and nutrition.  On the other hand it can be pretty lousy – both in calories and nutrition.

It’s difficult to estimate the number of calories and fat grams in a slice of pizza because the size, the type of crust, 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 can be calorically okay if you choose wisely and don’t eat more than your fair share.

The not so good news: the amount of fat, calories, and portion size. If you have visions of golden brown crust and cheesy goodness dancing in your brain, remember that a slice of pizza should be about the size of two dollar bills — not the size of a small frying pan or a quarter of a 12” circle.

7 Ways To Build a Better Slice of Pizza

  1. Order thin crust rather than a thick crust or deep dish.
  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 for flavor; one tablespoon has only 22 calories.
  4. Instead of lots of cheese go for big flavors like onion, garlic, and olives (use them somewhat sparingly because of the oil). 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 off 100 calories. 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 side salad (careful with the dressing) 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 with a napkin. Blotting is easy to do on the kind of hot slice where the oil runs down your arm when you pick it up. Each teaspoon of oil that you soak up is worth 40 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Deep Dish, Hand Tossed, or Thin Crust?

Check out the difference in calories for the same size slice of Domino’s classic hand-tossed, deep dish, and crunchy thin crust pizzas – each with the same toppings.  Then check out the number of calories in the various sides.

Domino’s 14 inch classic hand-tossed pizza:

  • America’s Favorite (Peperoni, mushroom, sausage, 1/8 of pizza): 390 calories
  • Bacon Cheeseburger (Beef, bacon, cheddar cheese), 1/8 of pizza: 420 calories
  • Vegi Feast (Green pepper, onion, mushroom, black olive, extra cheese, 1/8 of pizza): 340 calories

Domino’s 14 inch ultimate deep dish pizza:

  • America’s Favorite (Peperoni, mushroom, sausage), 1/8 of pizza: 400 calories
  • Bacon Cheeseburger (Beef, bacon, cheddar cheese), 1/8 of pizza: 430 calories
  • Vegi Feast (Green pepper, onion, mushroom, black olive, extra cheese), 1/8 of pizza: 350 calories

Domino’s 14 Inch crunchy thin crust pizza:

  • America’s Favorite (Peperoni, mushroom, sausage, 1/8 of pizza: 280 calories)
  • Bacon Cheeseburger (Beef, bacon, cheddar cheese), 1/8 of pizza: 310 calories
  • Vegi Feast (Green pepper, onion, mushroom, black olive, extra cheese), 1/8 of pizza: 230 calories

Domino add-ons:

  • Breadstick, 1 stick, no sauce, 130 calories
  • Cheesy Bread, 1 stick, no sauce: 140 calories
  • Cinna Stix, 1 stick, no sauce, 140 calories
  • Marinara Dipping Sauce, container for 8 sticks, 25 calories
  • Garlic Dipping Sauce, container for 8 sticks: 440 calories
  • Sweet Icing Dipping Sauce, container for 8 sticks: 250 calories

Mall Pizza Can Be Okay—And Not Okay

Per slice:

  • Sbarro’s Low Carb Cheese Pizza: 310 calories, 14g fat
  • Sbarro’s Low Carb Sausage/Pepperoni Pizza: 560 calories, 35g fat
  • Sbarro’s Fresh Tomato Pizza: 450 calories, 14g fat
  • Sbarro’s “Gourmet” pizzas: between 610 and 780 calories, more than 20g fat
  • Costco Food Court Pepperoni Pizza: 620 calories, 30g fat
  • “Stuffed” pizzas: 790 calories minimum, over 33g fat


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