Pizza is not a terrible food choice, as long as you don't overindulge. "Most people eat too many slices and choose the wrong toppings," says Keri Gans, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Pizza can give you a great opportunity to eat vegetables and get a healthy dose of calcium and protein as well.
The mistake most people make is they choose a thick, calorie-laden crust and pile on lots of greasy meat. In fact, these four popular franchise pizzas are the pies you'll want to stay away from the most:
Medium Pan Meatlovers Pizza
Calories per slice: 330
The Meats Pizza with Pan Crust
Calories per slice: 440
ExtravaganZZa Feast with Brooklyn Crust
Calories per slice: 595
Uno Chicago Grill
Deep Dish Chicago Classic
Calories per slice: 770
Tips for ordering a healthy pizza
1.) Choose your crust
Whole wheat is the best options, especially because of its extra fiber. To limit calories, stick with thin crust. thick crust and deep-dish are definite no-no's, due to the extra carbs. Also, avoid superlarge, greasy Brooklyn-style pizzas and, the deadliest of all, stuffed crusts.
2.) Get sauced
Avoid any sauces that say "creamy." So no vodka sauce or clam sauce. If it's white, it's cream-based, and cream is full of fat. Traditional red sauce, or any variation with extra mushrooms or vegetables, is perfectly acceptable.
3.) Top it
Sausage, pepperoni, and cheese can add 35 to 100 calories to a slice. Toss that into the nearly 350 calories in a regular piece of pizza and you're screwed, because who eats just one slice? Instead, load your pie with at least three veggie toppings&mdas;the fiber will fill you up and help you eat less—and one healthy protein, like grilled chicken. Avoid beef, buffalo chicken, sausage, bacon, meatballs, and even the standard pepperoni slice.
4.) Cut the fat
Nix four-cheese blends. They're four times the calories for basically the same flavor. Also, opt against fat-free cheeses. They don't melt well. Instead, order your pie with light feta or stick with mozzarella. When it arrives, dab away the extra fat—even if your buddies give you hell for it. You're removing up to 10% of the calories from each slice, so in the end, they'll be the ones getting fat, not you.