Food on the Run: Papa John's Pizza

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Thank you for making the new Food on the Run series a hit!

Based on your great comments, this week we take a look at pizza.

I'm sure you will find out some surprising facts, just as I did.

I start the review of pizza options by looking at

Papa John's Pizza

The nutrition information included is based on the nutrients that were available. I looked for options that provided less than 250 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat per serving.

Hand-Tossed Original Crust Options

Cheese – 1 slice
Calories – 180 small/210 medium
Carbohydrates – 25 grams small/27 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 1.5 grams small/2.5 grams medium
Sodium – 430 mg small/510 mg medium

Pepperoni – 1 slice
Calories – 210 small/220 medium
Carbohydrates – 25 grams small/26 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 2.5 grams small/3 grams medium
Sodium – 540 mg small/580 mg medium

Sausage – 1 slice
Calories – 220 small/240 medium
Carbohydrates – 25 grams small/26 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 3 grams small/3.5 grams medium
Sodium – 540 mg small/580 mg medium

The Meats – 1 slice
Calories – 230 small/240 medium
Carbohydrates – 25 grams small/26 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 3.5 grams small and medium
Sodium – 620 mg small/640 mg medium

BQ Chicken & Bacon – 1 slice
Calories – 220 small/240 medium
Carbohydrates – 30 grams small/32 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 2.5 grams small and medium
Sodium – 640 mg small/690 mg medium

Garden Fresh – 1 slice
Calories – 180 small/200 medium
Carbohydrates – 26 grams small/28 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 1.5 grams small/2 grams medium
Sodium – 460 mg small/490 mg medium

Grilled Chicken Alfredo – 1 slice
Calories – 210 small/220 medium
Carbohydrates – 25 grams small/26 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 3 grams small/3.5 grams medium
Sodium – 480 mg small/520 mg medium

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken – 1 slice
Calories – 230 small/240 medium
Carbohydrates – 31 grams small/33 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 2.5 grams small and medium
Sodium – 640 mg small/690 mg medium

Spinach Alfredo – 1 slice
Calories – 190 small/210 medium
Carbohydrates – 24 grams small/26 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 3 grams small and medium
Sodium – 420 mg small/450 mg medium

Spinach Alfredo Chicken Tomato – 1 slice
Calories – 200 small/220 medium
Carbohydrates – 25 grams small/26 grams medium
Saturated Fat – 3 grams small/3.5 grams medium
Sodium – 470 grams small/500 grams medium

The Works – 1 slice
Calories – 220 small/230 medium
Carbohydrates – 26 small/27 medium
Saturated Fat – 4 grams small/3.5 grams medium
Sodium – 610 mg small/620 mg medium

Thin Crust Options

Cheese – 1 slice
Calories – 240
Carbohydrates – 22 grams
Saturated Fat – 3.5 grams
Sodium – 540 mg

Tuscan Six Cheese – 1 slice
Calories – 250
Carbohydrates – 21 grams
Saturated Fat – 5 grams
Sodium – 580 mg

Pepperoni – 1 slice
Calories – 250
Carbohydrates – 21 grams
Saturated Fat – 4.5 grams
Sodium – 600 grams

Garden Fresh – 1 slice
Calories – 210
Carbohydrates – 23 grams
Saturated Fat – 2.5 grams
Sodium – 470 mg

Grilled Chicken Alfredo – 1 slice
Calories – 240
Carbohydrates – 20 grams
Saturated Fat – 4.5 grams
Sodium – 510 mg

Spinach Alfredo – 1 slice
Calories – 220
Carbohydrates – 19 grams
Saturated Fat – 4.5 grams
Sodium – 420 mg

Spinach Alfredo Chicken Tomato – 1 slice
Calories – 240
Carbohydrates – 21 grams
Saturated Fat – 4.5 grams
Sodium – 490 mg

There were no single slice options in the Pan Pizza or Whole Wheat Pizza Crust offerings that provided less than 250 calories. There were several that were close, however, they were higher in sodium. It was surprising to find that what you would expect to be a healthier option (whole wheat crust) was actually slightly higher in calories and sodium compared to traditional crust options. This provides a good example that it can be dangerous to "assume" which is a healthier choice and it is always better to know before hand.

How does this pizza option compare to some of the other fast food options we have looked at? Does pizza have a place in your food on the run eating plans?

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Why is there no size given for the thin-crust pizza? What size was used? Report
I was surprised to see that a lot of the thin crust options packed more calories than traditional crust! Good to know (and kinda weird). LOL Report
I've been aware of papa john's nutritional information for about a year. My take away is to eat pizza with veggie toppings only and eat about half the number of slices I used to and steam some veggies on the side. On days I do this, it's still a struggle to make my calories, but at least I don't blow it out of the water like I used to. Report
Flat Out Flat Bread is only 90 calories and is a pre-cooked break like a torilla shell, whole wheat and bakes crispy thin. Perfect pizza dough for make at home. Report
Im so glad I read this... Sometimes I eat pizza and when I have one I just cant stop. Now I know the calories I will think twice. Report
I don't know about Papa John's, but Domino's considers 1/4 of their thin crust pizza to be a serving, whereas 1/8 of their same size hand-tossed is a serving. That would account for the thin crust being higher calories, because you get a bigger slice of it.

I worry more about the sodium content of pizza than I do the calories and fat. I get the veggie with light cheese and stay in calorie range, but am always way over on sodium and find myself gulping water for the rest of the day and most of the next. Report
WildRice99: Thin crust having more calories than hand-tossed is most likely because thin crust has less crust, and therefore more room for toppings. Report
How is it that a slice of thin crust has more calories than a slice of hand-tossed??? Report
I love pizza and could eat the whole thing but I know how many Cals are in them so I try to just eat one slice but that is really hard to do when you love pizza But good to know how much is in a slice thanks Report
Hi, my name is Sheryl, and I am a Pizzaholic. Who eats just one slice of pizza? I have enjoyed pizza all over the United States, and can eat anyone under the table. Including teenage boys, and that ain't easy, folks!!!!! Funny, I can not eat too much of many other foods, but when it comes to pizza, all bets are off. I'm not helping this thread, am I? I have taken hold of my addiction, however, and only eat pizza once a month. But don't get in my way...LOLOL Report
Um... healthier doesn't always mean lower calorie. I was under the impression that a lot of whole wheat foods were higher in calories than their white flour counterparts. Whole grain is still healthier and is still going to stick with you longer because it takes the body longer to metabolize.... Report
Someone said that the thin crust is only available in the large size. This depends on the franchise management. I always ask for a small thin crust Spinach Alfredo and my store is more than happy to make one for my family. Granted it is not standard, but you can always ask. Report
I love Papa John's! And their customer appreciation days where it's 40% off. When I decide to blow my carb intake it's Papa John's for me! Report
I don't often go out Pizza like I use to, but having this guide is a big help in determining my calories. Thanks so much!
Nice to see I don't have to order the wheat crust, thinking I'm making a healthier choice for the family. I'm surprised. I also feel like the pizza makes me drink tons of water after a meal----must be the sodium content. We rarely order pizza out because I make it from scratch but good to know for the busiest nights----especially sports nights. Thanks so much. Report
For some reason, Papa Johns leaves me thirstier than the other pizza options. After I eat Papa Johns, I drink myself to death until I'm bloated and miserable. I just wish it didn't taste so good. Report
I love Papa John's pizza and having this nutritional information has been quite helpful. Thanks! Report
I think the thin crust has more calories because the thin crust only comes in a large. I used to work at Papa Johns back in high school. I tried the wheat crust for the first time this weekend and it wasn't my favorite. I am a huge fan of wheat bread and usually prefer it but not in this case. Report
I am so glad to find out that the whole wheat crust is no better in calories or fat. Now I can eat the regular crust again. Although, I must admit it is very difficult to eat just one piece. Report
I'm so surprised that the thin crust has more calories than the hand tossed. Report
I love Pizzas and I cannot just stop with one slice.. So I restrict myself to eating pizza once in two weeks or so.. Report
Again, I think this is great information! I love seeing the numbers! In this case, it helps remind me why I rarely eat pizza anymore. My husband and I love this local pizza place, so we started sharing a personal pan sized pizza and then each have a house salad. We try to choose healthier toppings, and it really is plenty of food! Report
I'm kind of surprised that the whole grain pizza was discounted just because it had a few more calories. Eating healthy isn't just about the number of calories, it's about the quality of the food too. Report
For those of use with a milk allergy, ordering without cheese is the only way we can eat pizza and stay safe. Plus, it's fewer calories. Yes, I miss cheese, but it does keep my weight lower! Report
I don't like P. John's Pizza so it is no issue for me. Report
Another eye opener for me! I was certain the thin crust was a better choice.WOW
Thanks for keeping us informed. Report
Good to know that I can have a slice with a huge salad and not feel any dread! Thanks for doing the research! :) Report
Good Blog. I like to make homemade pizza and use fatfree cheeses, sauce, etc.
This is great to know! We've combined our committee and team captains meetings to the same evening for Relay For Life this year and that means the committee comes straight from work and stays until 8pm. Last night was the first back to back meeting and pizza was ordered for the committee because we were missing our dinner. I felt guilty for eating some but when I input my food, it wasn't so bad. Then I read this blog and found out I've got a few options for next month. :) Thanks so much. Report
Glad to know since I get the Garden kind! Report
When I eat pizza, I choose to go to Cici's Pizza to eat it. They have several pizzas that actually aren't that bad when it comes to calories and fat, but this restaurant could also be a downfall for someone because it's buffet-style.

My favorites of theirs are the Ole (mexican) which has 107.5 cals and 3.7g of fat per slice, and the Zesty Veggie which has 124 cals and 4.4g of fat per slice. None of their items contain trans fat!

I feel that I get variety by eating there, but I also know that I have to plan how much I can eat and stay within my limit! Report
Good blog Report
It would be nice if this post specified which size pizza the thin crust is (since it is only available as a large), to add the wheat crust, and to add nutrition info for the hand-tossed large pizzas, so people can make a proper comparison. There is a considerable difference in the size of the slice for the large and the medium, which accounts for the difference in calories and sodium. The pizza itself is 2" larger in diameter, which adds a lot of dough and toppings. It's not really fair to cut down the product or the company when you are comparing a large to a medium.

I don't have any problems working 2 slices of Spinach Alfredo Chicken Tomato or Garden Fresh on whole wheat crust into my eating plan. It actually makes a high fiber and filling meal. If you need more, add a salad. I see no reason to limit myself to one slice of pizza unless it is a huge New York style pizza like something from Sbarro. 200 calories is not enough for a meal in my eating plan. Report
I'm sorry, but really, what is the point of pizza without cheese? I couldn't even think of eating a whole pie with or with out cheese. As with all foods - everything in moderation. Just about every food there is has a place in your diet when it's not overdone! Report
I'm loving this series - Thank you!! Report
who said skip the cheese? Pizza w/o cheese is just an open-faced sandwich. You're killin' me :) Report
The reason pizza is so high in calories is because the thick glob of cheese on it. Try ordering your pizzas with no cheese. For me the prospect of eating just a few slices of pizza with cheese looses out to being able to eat the whole pie without cheese.

According to my calculations a medium Pizza Hut veggie lover's pizza on hand tossed crust with no cheese comes out to 1,000 calories. I can eat a whole pizza along with a beer without going over my calories if I eat light the other meals of the day. Report
This is great! I totally would have gone with the whole wheat crust. Thanks! Report
I'm just amazed to see that the thin crust options are higher in calories than the regular hand-tossed crust! That's the opposite of what I see in the frozen pizzas I've bought at the store. Wow! Thank you! There's a Papa John's on the corner of my street and I've always avoided it and instead bought the thin crust frozen pizzas at the grocery store, but it never quite satisfied that "pizza itch". Maybe next time I'll just grab a small one at the store, and immediately freeze the extra pieces for later. THANK YOU for this post! Very helpful:) Report
I'm not a big pizza person, but my new weakness is the Papa Murphy's Deluxe Vegetarian. I'll sometimes have them add chicken to up the protein level for all the teenage boys I have at home. It's really yummy. And a lot less fat than the normal Combination extra meat pizza that we used to order. Report
These numbers are fine, but what size pizza are they for? How many slices per pizza? After all, I'd expect 1 slice of a small pizza to have a different nutrition count from a slice of an extra large. Report
I managed, and was later a Training Manager, of a competitor of Papa John's, Little Caesars. At the time, LC did not have a whole wheat option, but all of the pizza was made from the same dough - so I always ordered thin crust for my family.

Also, you can ask for light cheese and get about 1/2 as much. Stay away from the "meats" (fats), and stick as much as possible with the vegetables. You can ask for easy or no sauce, and if you get the pizza close to when it comes out of the oven, you can lay a couple of napkins over the top of the pizza to soak up a good deal of the oil that comes out of the cheese (if there is no oil coming out of the cheese, you ARE NOT getting natural cheese on the pizza). Report
We absolutely love Papa John's, but when I tried the Whole Wheat crust, I almost gagged! Now I'm a healthy eater and usually am the one who puts whole wheat flour in all my recipes or at least half and half, but this was nasty and really took away from the flavor of the toppings. My 3 1/2 year old son will only eat Papa John's or Papa Murphy's take and bake. I have all my nutrition calculated by grams. I know it will be a little off because of the circumference of the crust, but it will be close. I cut my slices in 16 pieces and then I can eat small ones from each variety and a salad and feel satisfied.

rumbamel Report
By the slice, it compares fairly well with some other fast-food options, but I don’t consider pizza a food I can eat on the go. That to my mind, when we’re talking restaurants anyway, requires a drive-through and something I can eat easily in the car. Ahem… possibly while driving?

I know… I know… I don’t do it often.

Anyway, to me pizza is an eat-in or take-home food. Eating in isn’t convenient most times, and taking pizza home or delivery means there’s going to be at least one whole pizza in the house. Once a pizza gets into the house stopping is a real problem. Pizza’s great, but for me it’s a problem best avoided as often as possible, whether I get it from a restaurant or make it myself. Some foods are just so yummy it’s hard to limit them when they are right there in front of you.

“I can resist anything but temptation.” ;)
I noticed you only provided the Saturated fat information. It would be more helpful to know the number of total grams of fat. Report
The thing about pizza is that rarely do I want to eat just ONE slice. Report
I have never had papa johns pizza.. i eat 2 pieces and salad.. when i eat pizza
i got sick the last time i had pizza hut.. it has been about 2 months ago i do not plan to eat there again or at least not for a long time to come Report
I eat at home the majority of the time, but sometimes it's nice to get food elsewhere. I don't think that makes me lazy. Papa John's is my favorite pizza too. It's not greasy like a lot of other pizzas. Report
How much more fast foods is there to eat on the run? Man; I think making a good meal yourself, is better than grease and colesterol. I just can't believe that america would actually go after yet another fast food item!! We can be better with natural homemade cooked foods and come out BETTER in the long run??
I think it is LAZINESS and an excuse not to cook. That's my opinion and I am sticking to it!! Report
Wow, this information is great to know. I printed it and will post it in my house so that everytime I want something I can look at the list and log it correctly in my food logs Report
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