Making a few simple switches during ordering can pack your next pie with more nutrition, fewer calories and less fat.

Every day, 40 million Americans eat at least one piece of pizza, which works out to 23 pounds of the stuff per person each year. Blotting excess oil off the top of your slice with a napkin is an easy, instant upgrade. (This one move alone can soak up 50 calories’ worth of fat.) You can also give your next pie a nutritional boost using these simple guidelines.

Be a Crust Minimalist
The thinner the better. Even “regular” and “traditional” crusts have 100 calories more per slice than the “thin” version. And definitely avoid Sicilian and pan pizzas: Their crusts are not only thicker, but also swimming in oil. As for stuffed crust, that cheese filling can add 300 calories a slice. The ultimate best bet: a thin, whole-grain crust, which boasts more fiber and nutrients than the white-flour version.

Get Choosy About Cheese
Most of us don’t think to change up the cheese, but many pizzerias offer options. To lower the fat and sodium in every slice, ask for less cheese—or none, if you’re not a fan anyway. (But don’t skimp on tomato sauce, which is rich in nutrients, including cancer-fighting lycopene.) Fresh mozzarella on a slice has less sodium than processed, shredded mozzarella—and both fresh and shredded have less fat and fewer calories than the three-cheese blends that some places offer.

Trade Up Your Toppings
Meat-combo pizzas typically sport layers of sausage, pepperoni, beef, ham and bacon, which can add about 400 calories and 10 g of fat per slice. A better high-protein combo is grilled chicken and broccoli. These two toppers offer disease-fighting selenium and sulforaphane, respectively. Of course, the more fresh veggies on top the better. Some of the highest in nutrients besides broccoli include onions, tomatoes and peppers.

 

About the Author
From the editors of Men’s Health and Women’s Health