Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Pizzeria Menu

Know the nutrition facts and order smart when you go out for pizza.

Did you know that an average slice of cheese pizza contains about 300 calories and 11 grams of fat? This can add up quickly. Don't let a night out with family and friends ruin your diet and wreck your training for the season. Learn how to decode a pizzeria menu and stick to your healthy eating plan.

Appetizer

Appetizer

If you're very hungry, an appetizer can seem like the best idea. A tiny meal before the actual meal should fill you up, right? But your hungry brain is not calculating the calories that come with that decision. You need to be careful because many appetizers are high in calories:

  • Bread sticks — 140 calories
  • Cheese sticks — 152 calories
  • Buffalo wings (2) — 125 calories
  • Caesar salad — 300 calories
  • Side salad with "light dressing" — 70 calories

Skip the bread, cheese sticks and buffalo wings, since they are small yet higher in calories. A side salad with light dressing will fill you up and provide some fiber to keep you from splurging later in the meal.

Pizza Crust

Pizza Crust

All crusts are not created equal.

  • Stuffed crust — 360 calories
  • Deep-dish crust — 259 calories
  • Regular crust — 212 calories
  • Thin crust — 169 calories

The thinner the crust, the smaller the impact on your waistline. This choice will also allow you to add a few more toppings if you wish. A stuffed-crust pizza may sound delicious, but it can pack a wallop in the calorie department.

RELATED: Building a Healthy Pizza: Tips and Recipes

Toppings

Toppings

Want to add extra flavor to your pizza? Sounds tasty, but you need to be careful. Make a mistake here and you will come into your season overweight and out of shape. Avoid pizza toppings that are high in saturated fat.

  • Pepperoni — 24 calories
  • Meat lovers — 45 calories
  • Ham and pineapple — 14 calories
  • Extra cheese — 50 calories

Aim for a wide variety of vegetables, such as mushrooms, red and green peppers and tomatoes.

Sauce

Sauce

Tomato sauce is virtually fat-free, and cooked tomatoes are a proven prostate protector. Pesto sauce is high in fat, but most of that is healthy monounsaturated fat from olive oil. Plus, basil and garlic both contain cancer-fighting compounds. Alfredo pizza is full of butter, cream and cheese. It can amount to up to 860 calories and 45 grams of fat per 2-cup serving. This is clearly an option to avoid.

RELATED: Pick & Pass: Eat Pizza But Still Cut Fat


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CALORIES | CHEESE | SALAD | TOMATO | SATURATED FAT | BREAD