Pizza is a favorite food for many around the world.
The addicting combination of delicious crust, sweet tomato sauce, and salty mozzarella cheese is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
However, it’s commonly labeled unhealthy, as it can be high in calories, sodium, and carbs.
However, some varieties contain unhealthy ingredients.
The nutrition and ingredients of pizza can vary widely depending on the type.
Often a diet staple of college students and busy families, frozen pizzas are popular meal choices for many people.
While there are exceptions, most are high in calories, sugar, and sodium.
They’re generally highly processed and contain artificial preservatives, added sugar, and unhealthy fats.
For example, one serving (1/4 pizza) of Red Baron Classic Crust Pepperoni frozen pizza contains (1):
- Calories: 380
- Fat: 18 grams
- Carbs: 39 grams
- Sugar: 8 grams
- Sodium: 810 mg — 34% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Choosing toppings like sausage, extra cheese, and other high-calorie items can add to the calorie content, while French bread style and stuffed crust varieties can pile on even more.
Freshly Made Pizzeria Pizza
Like frozen pizzas, pizzeria-made pizza can vary in ingredients and preparation methods.
Though the nutrition content of pizzeria pizza is not always listed, some pizzeria chains make nutrition information available to consumers.
Freshly made pizzas often contain healthier ingredients than the more processed ones sold in convenience stores and fast-food restaurants.
Most pizzerias make their dough from scratch using simple ingredients like olive oil and wheat flour.
Depending on the restaurant, some use homemade sauces with no added sugar, fresh cheeses, and other healthy toppings.
However, if you choose frozen or fresh pizza, piling on extra toppings can make it unhealthy, so be mindful of your selection when eating out.
Do you know that Pizza Can Be Part Of A Healthy Diet?
While many may think of pizza as a splurge, here’s a new way to think of it: Pizza can fit into a balanced, healthy diet and provide many nutrients when eaten in moderation.
That’s because pizza can help you get many nutrients like calcium, protein, fiber, and potassium. Pizza is the number three source of calcium in Americans who are two years old and older.
Plus, there are several small (and delicious!) steps you can take to balance calories and add nutrient-dense foods:
- Opt for lower-fat cheese varieties like part-skim mozzarella.
- Select a whole grain crust, which is rich in fiber.
- Load up on veggies, and choose lean meats.
- Do not overdo it on the size or number of slices.
- Even some schools are offering healthier pizzas in the cafeteria. Domino’s has developed a unique type of pizza called “Smart Slice” for students, made with whole wheat flour and contains less sodium and fat.
No matter if you’re a student or adult, with these best practices, you can start to rethink pizza as a healthy choice instead of a splurge.
There are many ways to boost the nutrition content of your pizza. Choosing a whole-grain crust, adding vegetables, and practicing portion control are just a few ways to make it healthier.
- Jillian Kubala, MS, RD — Updated on December 12, 2018