Motivated Monday – Healthiest Chain and Delivery Pizzas

Finding the Healthiest Delivery Pizzas

UPDATED June 7, 2018

I hope I’m not the only one that occasionally will cheat on a diet to indulge in a little bit of pizza delivered to my doorstep. An impromptu party or dinner craving doesn’t need to give you an achy belly and fill you with guilt.

I’ve looked at the biggest pizza chains across the country to get an idea of what two slices of thin crust pizza will set you back, calorie-wise. Part of my research involves taste, not just calories, so I referenced The Daily Meal’s “America’s Best 25 Pizza Chains” taste ratings.

Criterion

Thin crust pizzas almost always have less calories than a standard hand-tossed crust. And we all know that a deep dish or Chicago-style pizza will have the most calories of all. So to compared the pizzas, I used thin crust where possible. One serving of pizza, as I describe here, consists of 2 slices of a medium (12″) thin-crust cheese pizza. I included some take-out pizza chains as well.

Strategy

The strategy for getting through pizza-time without heaps of regret may be to order a salad, eat some of that first, and then consume 1-2 slices. You are also able to order a lighter portion of cheese in order to cut down on fat and calories from the cheese. Hopefully it’s obvious not to fill up on high calorie soda, breadsticks, and dipping sauces.

CPK’s Tricky Menu

One of the most popular pizza chains in the country (and number one on The Daily Meal’s list) is California Pizza Kitchen. I have a problem with their menu because it seems like it would be healthy, given the abundance of thin-crusted pizzas and salad options. But the calories in a “personal-sized” pizzas starts at 1100 calories. So even if you have a half of the the lowest calorie pizza, you’re looking at 500+ calories. Most of the half salads are also over 500 calories. So watch out! I did find a cool blog called Eating Rules that has a two-part series specifically on what to order at CPK. I would recommend the half roasted veggie salad or the half Chinese chicken salad. And get your dressing on the side for dipping.

Top Thin-Crust Pizza – Domino’s

With two slices of medium thin-crust pizza setting you back only 310 calories, and a rating of #2 in the top 25 pizza chains for flavor, Domino’s may be your best option. Other more waistline-friendly topping combos to order are Hawaiian or Veggie, as they describe on their lighter options page. The nutritionals for two slices of a medium thin-crust cheese pizza are: 310 calories, 28g carbs, 16g fat, 2g fiber, 13g protein.

Hungry Howie’s has 30 fewer calories than Domino’s so it’s also a great option for calorie counters at 280 calories, 26g carbs, 14g fat and 12g protein. It doesn’t earn the top spot because Dominos has higher quality and flavor.

Papa John’s doesn’t make a medium sized thin-crust so they lose out a bit, you could have one slice of a thin-crust large but you wouldn’t get as much pizza. They offer you some lighter choices on the menu such as mediterranean, chicken & veggie, chicken and canadian bacon and a tropical luau pizza.

Top Take-Home Pizza – Papa Murphy’s

Papa Murphy's Chicken Mediterranean PizzaPapa Murphy’s doesn’t offer delivery like most of the competitors do, but they do have a huge variety of pizzas, and rank as #10 out of the top 25 pizza places according to DailyMeal. They also don’t make medium pizzas in the thin-crust size but here I’ve compared to two slices of “Family size” thin crust pizza (1/3 of a 16″ pizza). The nutritionals for two slices are: 390 calories, 36g carbs, 19g fat, 0g fiber, 20g protein. Other lower-calorie pizza options include Veggie, Hawaiian, and Chicken Mediterranean.

NOTE: Sbarro, Little Caesar’s, Godfather’s, Chuck E. Cheese don’t seem to offer thin crust pizza, or if they do, they don’t publish the nutritional info. Cici’s doesn’t post nutritional info on their website anymore.

Here is the raw data for all the nutritional info I was able to find for basic cheese thin-crust pizza. So you can make your own tradeoffs!

Type Size Fraction of Pizza slices cals carbs fat protein
Hungry Howies Thin Crust Med 12″ 1/4 2 280 26 14 12
Dominos Thin Crust Med 12″ 1/4 2 310 28 16 13
Dominos Regular Med 12″ 1/4 2 420 54 16 18
Marco’s Pizza Thin Crust Med 12″ 1/4 2 350 28 19 17
Godfathers Regular Med 1/4 2 340 42 12 16
Pizza Hut Thin Crust Med 12″ 1/4 2 370 45 14 17
Papa Murphy’s Thin Crust Family Size 16″ 1/6 2 390 36 19 20
Round Table Skinny Crust Med 1/4 2 420 38 20 20
Papa John’s Thin Crust Large 1/4 2 430 40 21 16
Papa John’s Regular Med 12″ 1/4 2 420 54 14 16
zpizza Thin Crust Small 10″ 1/2 3 420 48 14 25
Donato’s Plain Jane Thin Crust Large 14″ 1/4 435 44 9 22
Little Caesars Regular 14″ 1/4 2 487 62 16 24
Jet’s Pizza Thin Small 1/2 6 460 46 20 27
Sbarro XL New York 17″ 2 526 63 19 26
Mellow Mushroom Thin Crust Med 1/6 2 530 66 18 31
CPK Thin Crust Small 1/2 565 67 21 28

5 thoughts on “Motivated Monday – Healthiest Chain and Delivery Pizzas

  • February 24, 2016 at 9:57 AM
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    Hi Justine,
    Thanks for stopping by! You are right, I just looked at Papa John’s large thin crust and they have a lighter cheese portion so they have slices under 200 calories. I will need to update this post with the newest info! The Tropical Luau one looks particularly tasty.

  • February 23, 2016 at 6:37 PM
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    Papa Johns is actually free of all MSG and additives. They also offer thin crust, it’s in large only.

  • July 11, 2014 at 9:11 AM
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    Your article is well-researched on which chains include which ingredients. I don’t personally feel that all the additives are necessarily that bad, although I would feel more comfortable with a pizza with less ingredients. However, I’ve worked in the food industry and am aware of many different food additives that are added for different reasons, which are not harmful. So it comes down to your individual level of comfort with what gets put in. Hopefully delivery pizza isn’t going to be a frequent choice, especially if you are watching your diet! I certainly agree it’s better to make it yourself, if you have time.

    Have you done the research on zpizza? They seem to be more natural than most!

  • July 11, 2014 at 12:02 AM
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    Thanks for putting this together, but it’s also about quality ingredients, not just the ‘nutritionism’ of calories and macros. Most major pizza chains contain MSG or Glutamic Acid snuck inside the crust, the sauce, the cheese, the meats, and most of the toppings. WHY??? Besides be very unhealthy, It also increases cravings for said pizza. Domino’s Papa Johns, Lil Caesars and Pizza Hut just a few who have MSG-laden pizza ingredients. ASK FOR THEIR LIST OF INGREDIENTS.

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