It's possible to order a pizza and keep calories in check. Find out which topping combinations are the healthiest options at three popular pizza chains.
Visit Pizza Hut’s website, and the first thing you see is the “Triple Treat Box,” with 2 medium pizzas, breadsticks, and the Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie. Papa John’s, on the other hand, promotes their “Duel Layer Pepperoni XL Pizza.” While indulgent, neither of these options are very nutritious. Thankfully, most popular pizza joints allow you to customize nearly every inch of your pie, from the amount of cheese to the ingredients themselves. Some spots even offer a “light” menu with calorie, fat, and sodium-conscious pies. Nevertheless, the easiest way to ensure you’re making a smart choice is to create your own.
Building your pizza from the bottom up may take more time, but the savings in calories, fat, and sodium are well worth it. You can find nutrition information for Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John's online, but they don’t always make it easy to understand. Domino’s lists nutrition for toppings on an entire pie, while Pizza Hut does the opposite, listing nutrition for toppings on just one slice. Below, we’ve done the math for you, selecting our top picks for the healthiest slices at popular pizza joints.
BYO Pizza Tips
- Slash the cheese. A simple way to knock off sodium and fat is by adjusting the amount of cheese on your pizza. Try “light cheese” or no cheese at all if you like a tomato pie.
- Check sauce numbers. If there is more than one variety of tomato sauce on the menu, check the nutrition, as one may be a better choice than the other. For example, Domino’s Robust Tomato Sauce has less fat and saturated fat than its marinara sauce.
- Hit the web. If you can, order your pizza online. This process is more visual than calling, and in the case of Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s, ordering online lets you watch your pizza materialize as you’re creating it. Simply click on a topping and watch it appear on your pizza (see below for Pizza Hut’s model). Challenge yourself to build a colorful pie using as many veggies as possible—try spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, diced or sliced tomatoes, and onions. Steer clear of high-fat, high-sodium proteins such as ground beef, Italian sausage, and pepperoni.
The Healthiest Pizza Picks at Pizza Hut
- 2 Slices Create-Your-Own Skinny Slice Pizza with Light Cheese, Marinara Sauce, Extra Spinach, Mushrooms, and Roma Tomatoes | Cal: 320, Fat: 7g, Sat Fat: 3g, Sodium: 620mg
- 2 Slices Medium Premium Garden Veggie Pizza with Light Cheese and Hand-Tossed Crust | Cal: 340, Fat: 9g, Sat Fat: 4g, Sodium: 580mg
- 2 Slices Medium Create-Your-Own Thin ‘N Crispy Pizza with Light Cheese, Marinara Sauce, Grilled Chicken, Pineapples, Spinach, and Balsamic Drizzle | Cal: 320, Fat: 8g, Sat Fat: 3.5g, Sodium: 900mg
The Healthiest Pizza Picks at Papa John’s
- 2 Slices Medium Hawaiian Chicken Pizza with Original Crust | Cal: 380, Fat: 9g, Sat Fat: 3g, Sodium: 920mg
- 2 Slices Medium Mediterranean Veggie Pizza with Original Crust | Cal: 380, Fat: 9g, Sat Fat: 3g, Sodium: 900mg
- 2 Slices Medium Create-Your-Own Pizza with Pizza Sauce, Light Cheese, Roma Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Green Peppers, Basil Pesto Swirl & Original Crust | Cal: 350, Fat: 9g, Sat Fat: 3g, Sodium: 830mg
The Healthiest Pizza Picks at Dominoes
- 2 Slices Medium Pizza with Robust Tomato Sauce, Cheese, Roasted Red Peppers, Mushrooms, Spinach, and Thin Crust | Cal: 285, Fat: 14g, Sat Fat: 5.5g, Sodium: 525mg
- 2 Slices Medium Ham and Pineapple Pizza with Robust Tomato Sauce & Thin Crust | Cal: 310, Fat: 15g, Sat Fat: 5.5g, Sodium: 700mg
- 2 Slices Medium Pizza with Philly Cheesesteak-Style Sliced Steak, Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms, Spinach, Robust Tomato Sauce, and Thin Crust | Cal: 295, Fat: 14g, Sat Fat: 5.5mg, Sodium: 580mg
If you prefer your local pizza spot to these chains, don't worry. You can still eat well and enjoy a few slices. Just keep these options in mind, try to recreate when you can, and use the general rules to help you steer clear of calorie traps.