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The #1 Healthiest Fast-Food Pizza Order, According to a Nutritionist

From crust to toppings—here's how to build a lighter pie.

Fast-food pizza doesn't get the best reputation, and for good reason. The pies at our nation's biggest pizza chains are usually high in carbs and sodium and excessively loaded with toppings that further increase the fat, carb, calorie, and sodium content. Just think about it: pizza's base is carbohydrate-heavy, as it's usually made with dough that consists of white, refined carbohydrates that are lacking in fiber.

Even if your pizza is made on a thinner crust, as opposed to deep dish or thick, large NYC-style slices you can fold in half, it's likely not made with whole wheat or whole grain flour at the more popular fast-food restaurants. Of course, you can make your own slimmed-down version of pizza at home by tossing your favorite cheese, veggies, and lightened sauce on top of a healthier crust, which cuts back on carbs and calories.

RELATED: The Worst New Fast-Food Pizzas, According to a Dietitian

You can buy or make your own cauliflower crust (Outer Aisle has a nice option) or choose whole wheat or grain-based crust, naan, or pita bread, which are often smaller in size and easier to manage for portion control.

Or look for frozen pizzas with low-carb crusts, such as Quest Nutrition's Thin Crust Pizza in Four Cheese, to simply heat and enjoy at home. Just stay away from these terrible options in the freezer aisle.

But when you find yourself stuck with fast-food pizza, you'll want to know how to choose one that won't put you overboard on all the "junk" ingredients.

The healthiest fast-food pizza: Domino's Thin Crust with Light Cheese and Veggies

dominos pizza
Courtesy of Domino's
PER SERVING (1/4 of a 12-inch pizza): 270 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 650 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 10 g protein

This particular pizza is the healthiest pick because it comes on a thin crust and is light on the cheese. "Pizza is one of those foods that varies considerably in calories and nutrients depending on how it's prepared and topped," says nutritionist and author Lauren Harris-Pincus. "But a thin crust pizza with tomato sauce, light cheese, and lots of veggie toppings, can create a balanced meal with a considerable amount of nutrients and fiber."

Always look for a thin crust to keep calories in check, and pile on the veggies as well as lean protein if you need a larger meal. Grilled chicken is usually the leanest and healthiest meat option at fast-food pizza joints. By adding the chicken, "you'll need fewer slices to satisfy your hunger," Harris-Pincus advises.

And Domino's has a wide array of veggies available to help increase your produce intake in a delicious way. So, while you're getting the thin crust with light cheese, you can load this pie up with as many veggies of different colors and flavors as you like. "Just check to make sure that your veggie toppings aren't breaded and fried first, which you might find with eggplant," the nutritionist says.

Go with fresh greens and veggies that offer rich fiber to fill you up for longer as well as those with antioxidant properties. Some such picks at Domino's would include garlic, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, and spinach—providing a nice mix of colors to eat the rainbow.

When it comes to sauce, the color is a good rule of thumb—a red sauce usually contains fewer calories and more nutrients than a creamy white sauce, so don't stray from the traditional marinara in favor of white pizza too often.

"At a modest 270 calories, you can enjoy a quarter of this pizza guilt-free, and it's even better if you round out your meal with a salad," Harris-Pincus says.

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Isadora Baum
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. Read more about Isadora