Pizza – much loved and feared at the same time… is it possible to consume it without exceeding the calories?!

yellow and black fish in fish tank

The pizza is one of the most loved food, known around the world and considered by many to be one of the joys of life. Unfortunately, it is also a rich and decidedly caloric dish, so that often, when you decide to go on a diet, it is necessary to renounce it. Yet, with some precautions, it is possible to lighten its caloric content without giving up the pleasure of eating it.

So what can we do!?


The first point in favour of pizza is that its traditional recipe, based on leavened dough, tomato, mozzarella, aromatic herbs and extra virgin olive oil, is a healthy dish in line with the principles of a Mediterranean diet. The combination, pizza = weight gain, is mainly related to the frequency of consumption and the amount of product that you put on the plate: a pizza served in the pizzeria is prepared by pasta tiles weighing about 250 grams, but for those of large size can even touch the 500 grams. In addition, we often choose to stuff it with all kinds of goodies that increase the calorie count significantly. 


The base for pizza is a disc of dough made of wheat flour, water and a little oil. So far so good, even if things can vary depending on how the ingredients are dosed: just a spoonful of extra oil to change the final count. The energy balance, however, depends mainly on the toppings: according to the National Institute of Research for Food and Nutrition, a Pizza Margherita (that is, only with tomato and oregano) contains 240 calories for a portion of 100 grams. This is the lightest that can be prepared, and all in all it has an acceptable caloric balance. If you add mozzarella, it reaches 270 calories. The highest calories pizza is the one with four cheeses, which can contain up to 350 calories per 100 grams (a figure that must always be multiplied by three to get a complete pizza total). The other types are placed between these two extremes: a vegetable one will have more or less 270 calories per 100 grams; a square with ham can reach 270-80 per 100 grams, a four seasons “weighs” a little more: about 280-90 calories, while you exceed 315 with a capricciosa, or replacing the milk mozzarella with the Buffalo. 

close shot of pizzaHOW TO ENJOY WITHOUT GREASE (TOO)

The pizza, as we have seen, is a decidedly caloric food, but in spite of this it is not necessary to renounce to it. The first step in not quarreling with the scale is to consume it at home: the homemade products are much more controllable and less rich (therefore less caloric) than those used in the premises, starting from mozzarella. At home you can also control the quantities of the portions, saving on the energy balance also considerably: for example, we can use smaller quantities of pasta spreading it so as to make it thin and wide (thus avoiding the sad effect of the mini-portion), limiting at the same time the amount of oil to add to the mixture. A good strategy is to insert the pizza in a weekly food plan that can rebalance its greater caloric intake, limiting, for example, the “weight” of the previous meal. Another trick is, at the restaurant, to ask that our pizza be prepared with little mozzarella (half the normal amount).


Unfortunately, some measures that are sometimes suggested to “lighten” the caloric balance are not meaningful: for example, whole wheat flour does not save calories compared to normal flour, even if the taste can be very pleasant and its fibers can limit the absorption of fats. You can also use ricotta instead of mozzarella: 100 grams of ricotta have a contribution of about 150 calories, similar to that of mozzarella fior di latte. Even the white pizza does not help to contain the calories: indeed, to compensate for the lack of red colour and the taste of the tomato, it will tend to enrich it with greater quantities of cheese and oil. 


Recall that the pizza is a balanced and complete single dish. It does not need to be accompanied by anything else, starting with the classic chips. We try to say no to even the carbonated soft drinks that usually never fail on the table in the pizzeria: a can of cola will add another 400 calories to our dinner. Not to mention delicious and hyper-caloric desserts, to close the meal worthily. In short, pizza yes, but with a little ‘self-control.

So let’s enjoy our pizzas!