Menu Navigator: Best (and Worst) Choices at Pizza Restaurants

We'll give you the skinny on how to choose healthy pizzas that won't bust your calorie counter.

Navigating Pizza Menu Illustration
Photo: Illustration: Serge Bloch

Choose with care at your local pizza shop, or it may be your waistline that's doughy. Two slices can easily cost 500 calories without supplying much in the way of helpful nutrients. Perhaps the most pressing health concern of all, though, is that it's shockingly easy to consume more than a day's worth of sodium from just two slices.

But fear not—it is possible to eat pizza without undoing a healthy diet. When it comes to calories, there are smart choices and indulgent ones, as you'll see. Sky-high sodium, though, is nearly impossible to avoid. Your best strategy is to plan around it: Precede or follow pizza night with a day of lower-sodium foods.

And size does matter: Order a large instead of a medium, and you end up consuming nearly 40 percent more pizza per slice.

The numbers below are for two slices. Those labeled "Splurge Only" aren't untouchable—no food is—but can be a really big splurge. Nutrition numbers are estimates.

Splurge Only:

  • Deep dish (cheese)
    640 calories
    Two slices from a 12-inch deep-dish pizza have more than twice the calories, fat, and sodium you would get with a regular crust.
  • The works/supreme
    606 calories
    We bet you knew it was bad—but did you know it would be this bad? If you must have meat on your pizza, choose one kind. This meatfest contains 12 grams of saturated fat and almost 1,400 milligrams of sodium in only two slices.

Ask Your Server:

  • Pepperoni
    514 calories
    Pepperoni is one of the highest meat toppings in fat, calories, and sodium. If you simply must have it, remove half or opt for one slice with and one slice without.
  • Hawaiian
    520 calories
    Don't think fruit makes this a healthy choice: The pineapple is typically sweetened (adding empty calories), and the ham ratchets the sodium up to nearly 1,300 milligrams per serving.

Healthy Choices:

  • Thin crust cheese
    388 calories
    You save 50 calories and 200 milligrams of sodium by opting for thin over regular crust—without sacrificing flavor. Choosing thin crust is a no-brainer, no matter what the topping.
  • Mixed vegetable
    466 calories
    Add spinach and broccoli, and this is as healthy as pizza gets. Now if only we could lower the sodium, which clocks in at a whopping 1,020 milligrams.
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