Pizza Nutrition Facts and Tips to Make It Healthier

Pizza annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

Pizza is a favorite food for many of us. But what if you're trying to lose weight or improve your eating habits? Is pizza healthy? And how many calories are in a slice of pizza? A few simple tips can help you boost pizza nutrition to keep your healthy eating program on track

Pizza Nutrition and Calories Per Slice

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one slice (107g) of regular cheese pizza.

  • Calories: 285
  • Fat: 10.4g
  • Sodium: 640mg
  • Carbohydrates: 35.7g
  • Fiber: 2.5g
  • Sugars: 3.8g
  • Protein: 12.2g

Pizza calories and nutrition can vary substantially based on the toppings, the cooking method, the crust, and the size of the pizza slice. A very small slice (1/8th of the whole pizza or 80 grams) of cheese pizza provides only about 200 calories.

But a typical slice of cheese pizza from many popular pizza chains like Pizza Hut (1/5th of the pie or 105 grams) is more likely to provide 300 calories or more. A single 10-ounce slice of Costco cheese pizza provides over 700 calories.

So what's the easiest way to cut calories in a slice of pizza? Reducing the cheese by half will save calories, saturated fat, and sodium. You will probably be pleasantly surprised at how much cheese is still left on your pizza after cutting it by half. If you don't want to reduce the amount of cheese on your pizza, request part-skim cheese instead of whole-fat cheese.

For the lowest calorie pizza choices, go cheese-free. Order no cheese on your pizza and then dust each slice lightly with grated Parmesan. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top to add extra zip if you need it.

The Highest Calorie Pizza Per Slice

Pizza that is loaded with meat will not only add calories, but it will increase your intake of saturated fat. For this reason, a pizza loaded with processed meats will generally be the worst pizza for your diet. Let's look at how it increases your calories per slice.

For the sake of counting calories, assume that each type of meat that you add to your pizza adds about 40 calories per slice. Of course, that number can vary if your pizza chef is heavy-handed and adds a lot of sausage or pepperoni. The number can also vary according to the size of your serving. But if exact nutrition information isn't readily available, it's a good estimate

A typical slice of sausage or pepperoni pizza contains between 250 and 300 calories. For a lower-calorie alternative, try Canadian bacon or chorizo—a spicy Mexican smoked sausage variety—which will save you a few calories per serving while still providing a smoky flavor. Other lower-calorie options include extra lean ground beef, ground turkey breast, and grilled or roasted chicken.

If you can't order a leaner meat, you can still cut calories from your pepperoni or sausage pizza. Use an absorbent paper towel or several paper napkins to soak up some of the grease from your slice. The amount of calories you can save is hard to calculate and will vary based on how much you dab. But you might remove anywhere from 15 to 40 calories.

The Lowest Calorie Pizza Per Slice

Your lowest calorie pizza choice, aside from a plain cheese pizza, will almost always be a vegetarian cheese pizza. A slice from most veggie pizzas provides around 240 calories. Vegetables provide flavor with very few calories compare to meat toppings. 

Choosing veggie toppings like green peppers, tomatoes, and onions will also add diet-friendly fiber and antioxidants while cutting calories. You might even try spinach or broccoli for a change. After a while, you may find you prefer veggies on your pizza instead of meat toppings.

How to Boost Pizza Nutrition and Cut Calories

At home or in a restaurant, use these additional tips to enjoy lower-calorie, healthier pizza:

  • Order thin crust pizza.
  • Replace regular crust with a whole-wheat crust to get nearly 20% of your fiber needs for the day.
  • Avoid dipping sauce like garlic butter or ranch to save hundreds of calories (especially if you double or triple dip your slices).
  • Skip the breadsticks. Indulging in just one large breadstick will add almost 200 calories to your meal.
  • White pizza can be higher in calories than traditional pizza because pesto, extra cheese, or olive oil is used in place of low-calorie tomato sauce. With just one vegetable topping, a typical slice of white pizza provides close to 300 calories.
  • Visit a locally owned pizzeria. A small restaurant may offer a greater variety of healthy toppings and options for customization than chain restaurants. Options might include grilled shrimp, green peas, asparagus spears, artichoke hearts, black beans, corn, spicy fajita chicken, lemon grilled chicken, or fresh minced garlic. 

Lastly, consider making pizza at home. ​ To make a healthier pizza, ​use a non-stick pizza pan. You can cut up to 100 calories per slice if you skip the olive oil when you bake.

A standard non-stick pan works well, but there are also brands like T-Fal that make perforated round copper pans just for pizza. The perforation helps air circulate so the crust heats evenly, and the surface reduces the need for oil and makes cleanup easier. Load up on healthy toppings like colorful vegetables and lean meat, then enjoy your pizza pie.

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Article Sources
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