Healthier Menu Options At Pizza Hut

Eating healthier is something a lot of people have on their to-do lists. Unfortunately, it's often easier said than done. It's tempting to choose convenience over nutrition, especially when your busy schedule is packed. Although quick and easy meals from fast food and chain restaurants can save you some time and the hassle of having to cook, the menu items are typically not the healthiest options.

Pizza Hut is a good example of a popular global restaurant brand that makes it easy to feed the family when you're tight on time. Pizza Hut was first opened in 1958 by two young brothers in Wichita, Kansas, as described by the Pizza Hut website. It quickly grew in popularity over the next decade, with several locations opening across the country. By 1971, it was the top-selling pizza restaurant in the world. It continues to dominate the pizza chain industry, and has more than 18,000 locations globally (per Statista).

While Pizza Hut may not always be the best choice, there are some healthier options on their menu that won't completely derail your diet. If you're already set on ordering dinner from Pizza Hut or simply don't have a lot of choice in the matter, here are some menu items to consider when trying to keep your health on track.

Veggie Lover's Thin 'n Crispy pizza

If you're trying to get the most nutrients out of your pizza, the best way to do that is to pile on the vegetables. According to Pizza Hut, their Veggie Lover's pizza is topped with mushrooms, onions, green bell peppers, Roma tomatoes, and black olives, so every slice is packed with a variety of vegetables that deliver a good dose of nutrition.

For example, green bell peppers are an excellent source of lutein, which can help boost eye health (via Nourish by WebMD). Green peppers also provide vitamins C, B6, K, E, and A, iron, potassium, and more. Likewise, black olives offer a good amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, iron, copper, and calcium (per Healthline).

Also, when you order the Veggie Lover's pizza on Pizza Hut's Thin 'n Crispy crust, it cuts down on calories and refined carbohydrates. As explained by Healthline, refined carbs, like the carbs found in pizza crust, are stripped of most of the fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients found in whole grains. These carbs are high on the glycemic index and can potentially spike your blood sugar, putting you at a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity (via Harvard School of Public Health).

Naked wings

If you want to skip the carbs and get more protein from your next Pizza Hut meal, ordering their "naked" chicken wings may be your best bet. These traditional bone-in chicken wings are prepared without heavy sauces or marinades, cutting down on added sugar and sodium. According to Nutritionix, three naked wings from Pizza Hut provide 27 grams of protein with no carbohydrates or sugar. You'll also consume 240 calories in those three wings, with 13.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat.

Because protein is vital to our overall health, naked wings can help your body get a good amount of this crucial nutrient. As explained by Nourish by WebMD, protein is essential to form strong bones, muscles, skin, and hair. Protein also plays an important role in bodily functions and systems, including immunity and energy levels.

Although recommended protein intake will vary based on a person's age, activity level, and individual needs, men over the age of 19 should typically get 56 grams of protein each day (via Nourish by WebMD). Meanwhile, women ages 14 and up should aim for 46 grams of protein each day.

Buffalo Chicken Thin 'n Crispy pizza

Another pizza option to consider when scanning the Pizza Hut menu for healthier options is their Buffalo Chicken pizza. This specialty pizza is topped with buffalo sauce, chicken, onions, and banana peppers (per the Pizza Hut website), giving you some protein and vegetables in each bite. Choosing the Thin 'n Crispy crust for your pizza will help to limit your carb intake versus the hand-tossed crust or pan pizza.

The Buffalo Chicken pizza delivers a ton of flavor with the onions and banana peppers added to the chicken. Banana peppers are a good source of fiber and vitamin C, while being low in calories (via Nourish by WebMD). Onions are another nutrient-dense food, adding a dose of vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, and potassium to your pizza (per Healthline).

According to Fast Food Nutrition, one medium slice of Pizza Hut's Thin 'n Crispy Buffalo Chicken pizza contains 190 calories and 9 grams of protein. However, the buffalo sauce drizzle does add some sugar to the dish. You'll get 24 grams (or 8% of your carb intake) in one medium slice. Limiting yourself to a couple of slices can help you keep your carbs in check.

Pizza made with Udi's gluten-free crust

As explained by Johns Hopkins Medicine, gluten is a type of protein mainly found in wheat and other types of grains. Although gluten itself is not harmful, some people experience bloating, diarrhea, and other uncomfortable symptoms after eating gluten-heavy foods. According to an article published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, about 6% of the American population has a sensitivity to gluten.

If you're one of the many people with a gluten sensitivity, indulging in pizza might seem out of the question. Fortunately, some Pizza Hut locations offer a gluten-free crust option on most of their pizzas, including their Veggie Lover's and Supreme pizzas, that may help you avoid the discomfort that comes with gluten sensitivities. One slice of Veggie Lover's pizza on Udi's crust has 110 calories, with 4 grams of protein and 4% of your daily recommended intake of fiber (via Nutritionix).

Udi's gluten-free crusts are made with tapioca starch and brown rice flour rather than wheat. However, if you have celiac disease or a more severe gluten allergy, Pizza Hut does warn that their kitchens are not gluten-free environments (per the Pizza Hut website). While Udi's crusts are gluten-free, other ingredients may contain gluten that may affect you.

Tuscani Meaty Marinara pasta

If you're really craving pasta from Pizza Hut, one menu item that provides some nutritional benefits is the Tuscani Meaty Marinara. In one serving of this pasta dish, you'll get 22 grams of protein, which is an impressive 44% of your recommended daily intake (via Fast Food Nutrition). You'll also consume 5 grams of dietary fiber (or 20% of your daily value) of the nutrient.

Protein is incredibly important to your overall health. As explained by Healthline, protein is essential for the development of strong tissue, muscles, and bones, sending hormonal signals throughout the body, maintaining a balance of fluids, and strengthening the immune system. Fiber is also vital to your well-being. Getting enough fiber can boost your digestive health, help maintain a healthy weight, and control blood sugar levels (per The Mayo Clinic).

However, be mindful of your portions when ordering the Tuscani Meaty Marinara from Pizza Hut. It does contain high levels of saturated fat and sodium that can have negative effects on your health if you're not careful (via the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).

Classic Caesar salad

Pizza Hut's Classic Caesar salad without croutons and easy dressing — or no dressing at all — can be a much healthier option than other menu items that are packed with fat, sugar, and sodium. Also, if you have the option to order your salad with chicken, you can add protein to your meal without adding carbs. According to CalorieKing, Pizza Hut's entree size Chicken Caesar salad provides 33 grams of protein and 2 grams of dietary fiber in 440 calories.

Because this salad is made with romaine lettuce, you can also enjoy the benefits of this hearty green when choosing the Caesar salad over a pizza. Healthline shares that raw romaine lettuce is low in calories and high in vitamin C, folate, beta carotene, and vitamin K. You also get some calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium when eating romaine lettuce.

Just be sure to ask for the dressing on the side when you order Pizza Hut's Classic Caesar, which gives you more control over how much is added to your salad. A lot of the saturated fat and sodium found in this dish come from the dressing (via Nutritionix), so add it sparingly.

Hand-tossed cheese pizza

If you're not a fan of thin crust and want something on hand-tossed pizza crust, a couple of slices of classic cheese pizza are far from the worst option on the Pizza Hut menu. Fast Food Nutrition shares that one slice of medium hand-tossed cheese pizza from Pizza Hut has 210 calories, which includes 9 grams of protein or 18% of your recommended daily value. While one slice contains 26 grams of carbohydrates, you'll get 8% of your daily intake of dietary fiber in those carbs.

The mozzarella cheese and marinara pizza sauce on the classic cheese pizza contain some important nutrients your body can use to stay healthy. Mozzarella cheese is a good source of calcium, vitamin B12, protein, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus (via My Food Data). The cooked tomatoes found in marinara sauce are rich in lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in the body to prevent cell damage and improve heart health (via Nourish by WebMD).

Garden Side Salad without croutons

The Garden Side Salad from Pizza Hut with light dressing and without the croutons is one way to fill up and get some fiber, which can help you avoid overindulging on pizza or other entrees. As shared by Nutritionix, one order of Pizza Hut's Garden Side Salad provides 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber in 110 calories. It's also low in saturated fat and sodium, unlike many of the other choices you'll find on Pizza Hut's menu.

In addition, My Fitness Pal breaks down the nutrition found in a Garden Side Salad even further, explaining that one salad provides 25% of the recommended intake of vitamin A, 13% of vitamin C, 5% of calcium, and 2% of iron.

However, be sure to skip the croutons and ask for your dressing on the side. Croutons will add refined carbohydrates and calories to your salad without much nutritional value (via CalorieKing). Also, it's a good idea to go light on the dressing to avoid adding excess sugar and sodium to your meal.

Hawaiian Chicken pizza

Pizza Hut's Hawaiian Chicken signature pizza is another good choice if you're looking for a healthier pizza option. Topped with pineapple, chicken, ham, and green bell peppers, this pizza is packed with flavor and several nutritional benefits. For one, pineapple is a low-calorie fruit that is full of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, including vitamin C, manganese, fiber, and B vitamins (via Cleveland Clinic).

While the chicken adds a boost of lean protein, ham is also an excellent source of protein in the form of essential amino acids, while being low in carbohydrates and fat (per Healthline). You'll also get a ton of selenium and some phosphorus, zinc, potassium, iron, copper, and magnesium from the ham on the Hawaiian Chicken pizza.

Not to be outdone, the green peppers found on every slice of this pizza contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that aid in many bodily functions. According to Nourish by WebMD, green peppers can improve your eye health with lutein and prevent anemia by providing iron and vitamin C. If you decide to go with this pizza choice on hand-tossed crust, a medium slice contains 210 calories, 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of fat (per Fast Food Nutrition).

Personal Pan Chicken Supreme pizza

If you like to pile on the pizza toppings, Pizza Hut's Chicken Supreme pizza may be the ideal choice for you. This one is topped with pepperoni, seasoned pork, beef, mushrooms, green bell peppers, and onions, which provide a good amount of protein and other nutrients. Also, the personal pan size makes it easier to portion control and avoid overeating.

According to Fast Food Nutrition, a whole Chicken Supreme personal pizza is 590 calories, with 31 grams of protein (or 62% of your recommended daily intake). You also get 4 grams of fiber, which is 16% of your daily value. In addition, the vegetable toppings round out the pizza by offering some vitamins and nutrients that can help boost your health.

For example, mushrooms are an excellent natural source of vitamin D, which supports healthy bones and lowers your risk of developing osteoporosis (per Healthline). They also contain a good amount of selenium, phosphorus, and folate. Moreover, the vitamin C, quercetin, and sulfur compounds found in the onions on this pizza can help lower your risk of cancer and heart disease (via Nourish by WebMD).

Classic breadsticks

This one may be surprising, but Pizza Hut's classic breadsticks are the healthier side option when compared to their cheese sticks or fries. Because they're baked (not fried) and not covered in sauces or heavy cheese, they're not as high in saturated fat as many of the other menu items offered by the pizza chain (via Nutritionix).

While an order of wedge fries from Pizza Hut has 320 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 35 grams of carbs (via Fast Food Nutrition), a classic breadsticks clocks in at 140 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 19 grams of carbs, according to Nutritionix. You'll also get about 4 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber in each classic breadstick.

Just be sure to limit your breadsticks to one or two while eating, and try to pair them with menu items that are lower in carbs and higher in protein to keep your blood sugar in check (per Medical News Today). Also, skip the dipping sauces if you want to avoid adding unnecessary sugar and sodium to your meal.

Great Beyond Thin 'N Crispy pizza

If you're looking for a vegetarian option but miss the savory flavor and texture of Italian sausage, be sure to check out Pizza Hut's Great Beyond pizza. You'll get veggies and Beyond Italian Sausage that deliver a good dose of vitamins, minerals, and protein without any meat (per Harvard Health Publishing). Toppings on this specialty pizza include the plant-based Beyond Meat protein, diced Roma tomatoes, red onions, and banana peppers.

Fast Food Nutrition shares that each slice of the Great Beyond pizza on Thin 'n Crispy crust provides 16 grams of protein, which is 32% of your daily value, and 3 grams of fiber, or 12% of the recommended daily intake. The plant-based sausage crumble is also made with B vitamins, including B3, B6, B1, B2, B12, and folic acid. However, you'll still want to watch your portions to limit your intake of saturated fats and sodium.

According to CNN, Pizza Hut was actually the first national pizza chain to include plant-based meats on their menu as a pizza topping. Their Beyond Italian Sausage is made with a blend of garlic, fennel seeds, paprika, and Beyond Meat pea protein, which is designed to create a similar texture and taste found in Pizza Hut's sausage.

Create your own pizza

For those who are serious about getting the most nutritional bang for their buck, building your own pizza gives you the flexibility to add healthy toppings and skip other ingredients you want to avoid. Pizza Hut offers the option to choose one of their specialty pizzas or create your own personalized pizza through their website.

First, you can choose your crust. Typically, the Thin 'n Crispy option is the best choice, because it's lower in refined carbs than other options. You can then decide if you want to stick with classic marinara or go with another type of sauce, such as creamy garlic parmesan. Because tomato-based pizza sauce contains lycopene and other nutrients (via Nourish by WebMD), light marinara sauce is generally a good choice. Lastly, you have the option to have your pizza made with regular, light, or no cheese.

When it comes to toppings, this is your chance to load up the veggies and lean protein. Some vegetable topping choices available at Pizza Hut include mushrooms, onions, olives, green peppers, banana peppers, Roma tomatoes, and jalapeno peppers. Some locations also offer spinach and garlic. For protein, grilled chicken is always a good option (via Healthline).