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Build a Better Pizza

Keep your eye on a healthier pie

12 Ways to Build a Better Pizza

If we make a few adjustments in our preferences and portion sizes, we can enjoy a slice or two of pizza as part of a healthy eating plan. Here are 12 ways to get the nutritional benefits of pizza without the extra calories, fat, and cholesterol:

  • Choose a restaurant whose pizza is closer to authentic Italian pizza, with a thinner, breadier crust, more sauce, and less cheese.
  • Order extra sauce to pump up the phytochemicals.
  • Order your pizza with half the cheese.
  • Go for veggie toppings: Onions, green peppers, olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and zucchini add nutrients and fiber.
  • If you have to order a meat topping, ham and Canadian bacon are among the better options. If making pizza at home, use the 75% less-fat pepperoni (Hormel brand) available at supermarkets. If you have to have pepperoni on your takeout pizza, ask them to use half the usual amount.
  • Enjoy your pizza along with a fruit salad and a green salad (made with kidney beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grated carrots, and reduced-fat dressing, for example). This will encourage you to stop after a slice or two.
  • Don't make a pizza meal worse by ordering high-fat and high-calorie side dishes such as Buffalo wings or cheese bread.
  • If ordering at one of the chains, choose a slice of cheese or veggie lover's pizza.
  • Among Pizza Hut's Hand Tossed Pizzas, these are the best choices: Cheese (240 calories, 10 grams fat per slice), Ham (260 calories, 10 grams fat), Veggie Lover's (220 calories, 8 grams fat), and Chicken Supreme (230 calories, 7 grams fat).
  • Of Pizza Hut's Thin 'N Crispy Pizzas, these are the best choices: Cheese (200 calories, 9 grams fat per slice), Ham (170 calories, 7 grams fat), Veggie Lover's (190 calories, 7 grams fat), Chicken Supreme (200 calories, 7 grams fat).
  • At Domino's, the better options include Thin Crust cheese-only pizza, with 191 calories and 8.3 grams of fat in one slice of a large pie; Classic Hand Tossed cheese only, with 258 calories and 7.75 grams of fat for per slice of a large pie; and Hand-Tossed Vegi Feast pizza, 302 calories and 11 grams of fat.

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Reviewed on January 20, 2005

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