But I Just Want Some Pizza!?!

by in Dining Out, Healthy Tips, October 23, 2009

Pizza is a popular on-the-go lunch or dinner choice and a staple at kids’ birthday parties. I’m not one to resist a tempting slice (it’s my favorite food, second to chocolate), but I can enjoy one without overindulging — here’s how.

Nutrition Lowdown
Every restaurant has their special recipe to create that slice of heaven. Some places use more dough per slice while others pile on the cheese or oil. Because of this, you’ll find a slice of plain cheese pizza ranges from 250 to 700 calories. Check out the restaurant’s nutrition information, if it’s available, before you order. If there’s no nutrition breakdown provided, one basic calorie-saving choice is to opt for thinner crusts and go light on the stuff piled on top (unless it’s veggies).

Avoid Topping Overload
Pile on loads of pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese and you also add an additional 200 to 400 calories per slice. Skip those super high-calorie ziti-topped pizzas or cheese-stuffed crusts. Instead, go for veggies such as broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, onions or tomatoes. With about 25 calories per half-cup, you’ll get some extra vitamins without much additional fat and calories. If you can’t imagine your pizza without pepperoni, ask the restaurant to half the amount.

Some places offer specialty veggie pies, but those aren’t always a safe bet. Before you order, ask what’s on it — many pizza shops load them with dressings or lots of cheese. White pizzas (made without tomato sauce) are another variety that can go either way — they’re a good choice when they have just a touch of olive oil and basil, but aren’t the best when topped with tons of cheese and oil.

Need more than a slice? Rather than downing a personal pie, order a side salad, a side of veggies or a small piece of grilled chicken.

Making Your Own
You can also make your pie — that way you control the toppings and the calories. When I need to satisfy an urge, I make a quick and delicious English muffin pizza with some shredded mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, olives and a touch of hot sauce. Dana’s smaller-sized Vegetable Snack Pizza is another portion-savvy choice.

Don’t have time to prep one at home? Try shopping for these smarter frozen varieties.

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