How to Eat Healthy at Pizza Hut

How to Eat Healthy at Pizza Hut

About 3 billion pizzas are sold each year in the United States, with each American consuming an average of 46 slices annually, according to the website Statistic Brain. While this is good news for pizza restaurants, all those savory slices add substantial calories, fat, carbs and sodium to your diet, increasing your risk of weight gain and chronic illness. By planning for a Pizza Hut run in advance, you can make choices that won’t significantly derail your family's healthy eating regimen. Remember that the menus of chain restaurants change often, so check the website to keep current on the restaurant’s nutritional information.

Serving Strategies
Don’t go to Pizza Hut looking for healthy salads, broiled fish or steamed vegetable sides. Instead of eating at the restaurant, where you might need multiple slices to satisfy your hunger, order a pie to go, and prepare a big, leafy green salad to accompany it. Better yet, start your meal with a cup of vegetable soup for everyone. A study published in Appetite in 2007 found that eating low-calorie soup before your meal helps fill you up and lower your overall food intake. When you feel fuller, you’re more likely to stick to the serving size of one slice.

Also, skip the soft drinks, even if you have a coupon for a free liter. Instead, serve sparkling water dressed up with lemon, lime or orange slices for a refreshing natural soda.

Go for the Veggies
Many single slices at Pizza Hut average between 200 and 300 calories. Stick with the Pan, Hand Tossed Pizza or Thin ‘n’ Crispy pizza options to stay within this calorie count. Even within these varieties, meaty toppings like pepperoni will hoist you over the 300 calories per slice and almost double your sodium intake.

Probably the best all-around slice at Pizza Hut for health-conscious diners is the Veggie Lover’s Medium Hand Tossed, with 190 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 26 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of protein and 430 milligrams of sodium. Another good choice is the Garden Party, with 200 calories, 400 milligrams of sodium, and a similar fat, carb and protein count as Veggie Lover’s.

Crust and Size
For different styles of crusts, either add or subtract calories -- for example, a Veggie Lover’s Medium Pan Pizza has 30 calories more than the Medium Hand Tossed with 220, while the Medium Thin ‘n’ Crispy has 10 fewer calories, at just 180.

Obviously, slices of large-sized pies contain more calories, fat and sodium, but Veggie Lover’s, Cheese, Garden Party and a few others slide in under the 300-calorie mark.

Skinny and Gluten-Free
Pizza Hut has a small selection of pies it calls “Skinny Slice” for diet-conscious customers. Skinny slices have between 200 and 230 calories, 6 to 9 grams of fat, 3 to 4 grams of saturated fat, 25 to 28 grams of carbs, 9 to 12 grams of protein, and 440 to 680 milligrams of sodium. The Gluten-Free Pizza, designed for those who can’t tolerate the protein in crusts made of wheat, are even lower in calories, fat and carbs: a Pepperoni slice supplies 170 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 19 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein, and 490 milligrams of sodium.

Options With Wings
If you’re watching your carbs, you can always skip the pizza and order from the wings section of the Pizza Hut menu. A two-piece serving of Baked Hot Wings comes in at 100 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, zero carbs, 10 grams of protein, and 420 milligrams of sodium. If you can’t imagine wings without dipping sauce, opt for the Marinara -- a 3-ounce serving contains 45 calories, no fat, 9 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein and 290 milligrams of sodium.