It only gets more hectic during Carnival, when our nights and weekends are filled with parades and parties, edging out time for fundamentals like grocery shopping and meal prep.
Our noble New Year’s goals seem so unattainable; it’s catch-as-catch-can when it comes to fueling our bodies, especially through Mardi Gras.
Which brings us to pizza. When we haven’t planned or don’t really know what we want, pizza often is an easy answer; and that can be, nutritionally speaking, a bad choice.
A slice of meat lover’s pizza with “the works” typically packs in more than 500 calories, 1,200 mg sodium and 40 grams of carbs. And that is for just a single slice.
Fortunately, we have more and more better-for-you pizza options.
Here’s a quick rundown of my top picks for fast-food pizza delivery, dine-in or takeout, frozen pizza, and a quick-assembly pizza at home.
Fast Food Pizza Delivery: Papa Johns Ancient Grains Gluten Free Pizza
If pizza delivery is on your speed dial, try this version from Papa John’s. The gluten-free dough is made with fiber-rich flours and seeds like sorghum, teff, amaranth, quinoa and flaxseed, along with protein-rich ingredients including egg whites and whey. It is made with white, refined flours like rice starch and tapioca starch, but it’s a decent blend nutritionally. And, most important, it tastes good.
This Ancient Grains Crust is only available as a small pizza – good for portion control for just you, but not great if you’re feeding a crowd.
One-third of an Ancient Grains Cheese Pizza (there are six slices per pie) has 250 calories, 11 grams fat, 590 mg sodium, 32 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber and 10 grams protein. Boost protein with grilled chicken (they use antibiotic-free chicken) and add veggies (but not salt) with fresh mushrooms, peppers, onions and tomatoes.
And while this crust is made with gluten-free ingredients, it’s possible that your pie could be exposed to gluten during the prep process. Those with celiac disease or who are highly sensitive to gluten should use caution.
Pizza Takeout or Dine-In: The “Eat Fit” from Slice Pizzeria
Slice Pizzeria worked with our Eat Fit NOLA team to create a crust made with a blend of gluten-free whole grains, such as sorghum, amaranth and quinoa, then topped it with grilled salmon, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and mozzarella to create “The Eat Fit” pizza. Eat Fit dishes are all low in sodium, saturated fats and white carbs.
Half of a small pizza has 260 calories, 10 grams fat, 450 mg sodium, 26 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber and 14 grams protein. It’s also available via Waitr and UberEATS, if you’re pressed for time.NOLA.com taste test: Ranking frozen pizzas for nutrition and flavorThe top 12 frozen pizzas ranked from healthiest to worst diet disaster, along with our NOLA.com taste-test results and price.
Frozen Pizza: Trader Joe’s Cheese Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust
Unlike many “cauliflower crust” varieties that list rice flour or other starchy grains first, the first ingredient here is actually cauliflower – followed by mozzarella cheese, then potato flour, chickpea flour and brown rice flour.
One-third of this cauliflower crust pizza has 250 calories, 12 grams fat, 490 mg sodium, 24 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber and 14 grams protein.
It also tastes good – when we’ve taste-tested with friends and family, this is the most similar to “regular” cheese pizza. Added bonus: It’s naturally gluten free.
Start with a nutritious base like cauliflower crust, and pile on no-salt-added tomato paste, veggies, lean proteins and lower-sodium cheeses like goat or fresh mozzarella. You can make your own cauliflower crust pizza or try one of these store-bought options below. Another option: Use portobello caps as the crust.
Outer Aisle Gourmet Cauliflower Pizza Crust, available in the freezer section of Whole Foods Market, is my favorite low-carb stand-in for a traditional pizza crust. The ingredients are clean and simple: Cauliflower, Parmesan cheese, eggs, nutritional yeast, basil, garlic and oregano.
Nutrition Facts per single-serving 8-inch crust: 120 calories, 6 grams fat, 310 mg sodium, 4 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 10 grams protein.
Cali’flour Foods Cali’Lite Pizza Crust is another great option, but so far I’ve only seen it online. Their plain variety is made with cauliflower, egg whites and mozzarella; the ingredient list couldn’t be simpler. They also offer Italian, Sweet Red Pepper and Spicy Jalapeno varieties.
One-third of the crust has 60 calories, 3 grams fat, 110 mg sodium, 2 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber and 5 grams protein.