However there are enough options out there to be able to enjoy pizza and not completely wreck your healthy diet. So I set off to figure out which Pizza chain has the healthiest pizza. Most major pizza chains offer nutritional information on their websites, although the varying options in crusts, sauces and toppings can make it a challenge to do any comparisons. So for simplicity I decided to compare the chains’ large cheese only pizzas, as that is a common type among all pizzerias. Below is a break-down of what I found:
According to Papa Johns website, one slice of their large thin crust cheese pizza contains 230 calories (110 calories from fat) with a total fat content of 12g (18% of DV), 5g Saturated Fat, 25g (8% of DV) Cholesterol, 380mg (16% of DV) of Sodium, 22g (7% of DV) of carbs, 2g of sugar and 9g of protein. Worthy of mention, from the information I was able to dig up, Papa Johns is the only pizza franchise to offer a whole-wheat crust.
According to Pizza Hut’s website, one slice of their large Thin ‘N Crispy cheese pizza contains 260 calories (100 calories from fat) with a total fat content of 11g, 5g Saturated Fat, 30mg of Cholesterol, 750mg of Sodium, 28g of carbs, 5g of sugar and 12g of protein.
Domino’s Pizza offers a complete nutritional guide in PDF form. Not-so-user-friendly, the guide is divided into ‘build your own’ sections, so to get a count you appear to have to add the details for the crust and the details for the cheese together. Furthermore, they do not offer nutritional information by the slice, but by the entire pizza! This makes the comparison a bit challenging. However they do provide serving sizes. So after adding the details for the crust with the details for the cheese, then dividing by their serving size I have obtained the following details: according to their guide, one slice of their large Crusty Thin Crust cheese pizza with marinara sauce contains 256.25 calories (80.6 calories from fat) with a total fat content of 9.125g, 4.1g Saturated Fat, 18.75g Cholesterol, 551.25mg of Sodium, 33.75g of carbs, 3g of sugar and 10g of protein.
According to CiCi’s Pizza’s website, one slice of their 15” cheese pizza contains 185 calories with a total fat content of 5.2g, 2.3g Saturated Fat, 11mg of Cholesterol, 297mg of Sodium, 24g of carbs, 2g of sugar and 7g of protein. One thing worth noting about CiCi’s is that they are the only large chain which boasts a 100% trans fat-free menu.
According to Chuck E. Cheese’s website, one slice of their large cheese pizza contains 169 calories (41 calories from fat) with a total fat content of 5g, 2g Saturated Fat, 10mg of Cholesterol, 389mg of Sodium, 24g of carbs and 8g of protein. We must give kudos to Chuck E. Cheese for adding nutritional information to their in-store menu boards, in addition to providing nutritional information about their items on their website. Further, their gluten-free pizza option puts them higher on the healthy list in comparison to most other pizza chains. In fact they were recently tied for second healthiest pizza chain in the market. (Lesser known Pizza Ranch took first place and California Pizza Kitchen tied for second place. See the full result of the study here.)
If you are fortunate enough to have a Naked Pizza in your area, this seems to be by far the best option. In fact, this is the only pizza chain I could find that actually prides itself on health. Truly unique for a pizza chain, they use all-natural, whole food ingredients and their crust is made from an Ancestral blend of 10 grains consisting of oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, tapioca and two kinds of wheat. Their crust also contains prebiotic agave fiber and probiotics – healthy bacteria for digestive health, like the good stuff found in yogurt. They don’t add sugar, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oil. Check out their Naked Nutrition Guide on their website to read about all of the nutritional information. Similarly put-together as Domino’s nutrition guide, I had to do some adding and figuring to obtain the final stats… One slice of their large thin-crust cheese pizza with marinara sauce contains 141.5 calories (53.25 calories from fat) with a total fat content of 6g, 3.5g Saturated Fat, 16.125g Cholesterol, 314.75mg of Sodium, 15g of carbs, .5g of sugar and 7.875g of protein.
Even when nutritional information is not readily available, there are logical healthier choices at most pizza places.
First off, and kind of obvious, whenever you can, choose Whole wheat crust as opposed to standard white flour crust, providing a viable, fiber-rich option to those pizza lovers the country over.
If you cannot obtain a whole wheat crust, choose instead a thin crust as opposed to thick crust pizza as a healthier option. In fact, according to Men’s Health, Papa Johns pan crust pizza has 12 more grams of carbohydrates and 4.5 more grams of saturated fat per slice than their original (thinner) crust. According to an article in Men’s Health, Domino's Crunchy Thin Crust cheese pizza is one of the lowest-calorie pies in America, at only 181 calories.
Choosing Cheddar cheese as opposed to mozzarella will save you some fat, as Cheddar has 1/3 less fat. Domino’s Pizza is one chain that has the option of Cheddar cheese.
Whenever you can, choosing vegetables as opposed to Sausage, Pepperoni and other fatty meats is a smart idea.
To summarize, whenever you are craving pizza, stick to a slices of thin, preferably whole wheat, crust with light cheese and vegetables, and you will be doing yourself some favors and won’t have to feel so guilty about your pizza enjoyment.