The number of calories in a vegetarian pizza can vary greatly depending on the size, crust, and toppings used. However, on average, one slice of a medium 12-inch cheese pizza made with a thin crust contains around 285 calories. A slice from a veggie pizza with mushrooms, onions, peppers, and tomato sauce may contain around 300 calories. For perspective, most nutritionists recommend consuming around 2000 calories per day.
How Many Calories Are in Different Vegetarian Pizza Slices?
A slice of cheese pizza contains:
As you can see, the calories increase as the pizza gets larger. A medium 12-inch pizza contains about 285 calories per slice.
The number of slices per pizza also impacts the total calories. A medium 12-inch pizza is generally cut into 8 slices. So if you eat the entire pizza, you would consume around 2,280 calories.
Veggie pizzas with lots of low-calorie vegetables tend to be slightly lower in calories than cheese pizza.
Here are the average calories for one slice of a medium 12-inch veggie pizza:
The vegetable toppings, like mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and peppers add some extra calories. But going veggie still leads to a slice with fewer calories than if you added higher-calorie meats like pepperoni or sausage.
Pizzas made with vegan cheese and plant-based meat substitutes tend to be similar in calories to vegetarian pizzas:
|Vegan cheese pizza (thin crust):
|Vegan pepperoni pizza:
Vegan cheese isn’t significantly lower in calories than regular cheese. However, using plant-based meat substitutes instead of sausage or pepperoni can shave off a few calories.
What Impacts the Calories in Vegetarian Pizza?
The type of crust impacts the calorie count more than you may think. Here’s how the calories in one slice of a medium 12-inch pizza compare based on crust:
Thin crust is the lowest calorie option. Stuffed crust pizza can pack almost twice as many calories as thin crust!
The extra dough in a thicker crust is what adds most of the calories. Oil or butter in the pan or on the crust also increases the calorie count.
Using extra cheese significantly increases the calories:
Limiting the cheese toppings is an easy way to reduce the calories in vegetarian pizza. Choose regular or light cheese instead of extra.
Veggie toppings like mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and peppers add very minimal calories. Going heavy on the veggies is a smart move for lowering calories.
However, more calorie-dense toppings like olives, plant-based meat substitutes, and vegan cheese can quickly drive up the calorie count:
|1 oz mushrooms:
|1 oz black olives:
|1 oz vegan sausage:
Load up your pizza with nutrient-dense vegetables instead of fatty, processed meat and cheese replacements to keep it light.
As mentioned earlier, the size of the pizza greatly impacts the total calories:
|600 calories (2 slices)
|800 calories (4 slices)
|1,140 calories (8 slices)
|1,700 calories (10 slices)
|Extra large (16”+):
|2,500+ calories (12+ slices)
Sticking to a medium or small pizza instead of large or extra large is an easy way to consume fewer calories. Or consider sharing one large pizza between multiple people instead of each person eating an entire personal pizza.
You can also save some calories by taking leftovers home instead of feeling compelled to eat the whole pizza in one sitting.
Healthy Vegetarian Pizza Options
There are lots of ways to make vegetarian pizza healthier by reducing the calories. Here are some smart tips:
Choose Thin Whole Wheat Crust
Picking a thin whole wheat crust over thick and buttery crusts can slash the calories. Whole wheat dough tends to be denser and more filling as well.
Load Up On Veggies
Pile those pies high with sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, spinach, and any other veggie toppings you enjoy. You really can’t overdo it on the vegetables here.
Use Sparing Cheese
Cheese is delicious, but it packs a calorie punch. Opt for light cheese or less overall cheese to cut down on the calories without sacrificing too much flavor.
Add Lean Protein
If you want some extra protein, add some grilled chicken breast, bean sprouts, or tofu. These are all great lean protein sources that won’t drive up calories.
Try Cauliflower Crust
For an ultra low-carb, low-calorie option, try using cauliflower crust instead of regular pizza dough. You can find cauliflower pizza crusts pre-made or make your own.
Use Healthy Fats
Brush the crust lightly with olive oil instead of butter. You’ll add some healthy fats instead of saturated fats found in butter. Avocado is another pizza-friendly way to get healthy fats.
Being mindful of your serving size and stopping when full will help prevent overeating and consuming too many calories. Slow down and savor each slice.
How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day?
The number of calories you should eat daily depends on your:
- Activity level
According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, here are some general recommendations for calorie intake:
|1,600 to 2,400 calories
|2,000 to 3,000 calories
However, your individual needs may vary. A 5’4” sedentary woman would need significantly fewer calories than a 6’0” construction worker, for example.
You can use a calorie calculator to estimate your calorie needs more specifically based on your unique stats and activity levels.
As a general rule, aim to stay within or slightly below your recommended daily calorie intake to maintain your current weight. Cut calories further if trying to lose weight – a 500 calorie per day deficit equals about 1 pound per week.
Tips for Picking Healthier Pizzeria Options
Okay, so homemade veggie pizza can definitely be a nutritious option. But what about when eating out?
Most pizzerias don’t provide calorie counts. But you can still make educated guesses to choose a lighter pie.
Here are some tips for picking healthier pizzeria options:
Opt for Thin Crust
Just like with homemade pizza, thin crust pies tend to be lower in calories than deep dish or stuffed crust options.
Choose Smaller Sizes
Stick to small or medium pizzas instead of large or extra large whenever possible. Or split one large pizza between multiple people.
Load Up On Veggies
Get all the vegetable toppings and avoid fatty meats like pepperoni and sausage that drive up calories.
Ask for Light Cheese
Request light or reduced-fat cheese to cut down on calories without losing the cheesy flavor.
Dip Crust in Sauce
If the crust is where most of the calories are hiding, skip the buttery garlic or cheese breadsticks and just dunk your pizza crust in marinara sauce.
Eat Fewer Slices
Just because slices are sitting in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat them all. Wrap up leftovers right away or let your dining companion polish off the rest.
Should You Eat Pizza on a Diet?
Pizza has a reputation for being unhealthy, high in calories, and off-limits on a diet. But this isn’t necessarily true, especially for homemade vegetarian pizzas.
Pizza can be worked into most healthy eating plans in moderation. The keys are portion control and making smart swaps to cut calories, like using a thin whole wheat crust and loading up the vegetables.
Here are some diet tips for eating pizza:
On a standard 1,200 to 1,500 calorie weight loss diet, one or two slices of thin crust veggie pizza can fit into your daily calorie budget. Just account for it when planning your meals.
On keto or other low-carb diets, focus on veggie toppings and try cauliflower crust to keep your carb count low. A couple slices of cauliflower crust pizza can contain under 30 grams of net carbs.
Look for pizzerias that offer gluten-free crust options. You can also find gluten-free pizza crusts to make at home on your own. Load it up with veggies and lean protein.
Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
Veggie pizza is a staple food for most vegetarians and vegans! Just opt for piles of vegetable toppings and vegan cheese.
No matter what diet you follow, eat slowly, savor each bite, and stop when satisfied to avoid overeating calories.
Healthy Homemade Vegetarian Pizza Recipes
To make the most nutritious at-home pizzas, focus on using a thin whole grain crust, tomato sauce base, and lots of low-calorie vegetable toppings.
Here are some delicious and good-for-you vegetarian pizza ideas to try!
Veggie Lover’s Pizza
- Whole wheat pizza dough
- Marinara sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Sliced mushrooms
- Diced red onion
- Sliced bell peppers
- Baby spinach
- Cherry tomatoes
Pile the sliced veggies high on your pizza!
- Thin pizza crust
- Fresh mozzarella
- Sliced tomato
- Fresh basil
- Olive oil
Top with fresh sliced tomato, mozzarella, and basil for the classic simple margherita pizza.
BBQ Cauliflower Pizza
- Cauliflower pizza crust
- BBQ sauce
- Roasted cauliflower
- Red onion
- Vegan cheese
Try this unique combo of BBQ sauce with roasted cauliflower and vegan cheese.
- Seasoned ground beef or turkey
- Refried beans
- Taco sauce
- Shredded lettuce
- Diced tomato
- Shredded cheese
Construct a taco-flavored pizza using tortillas as the crust. Top with taco meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Olé!
Vegetarian pizzas can vary greatly in calories based on the crust, cheese, and toppings used. But some general guidelines for lighter pizzas are:
- Thin crust instead of thick
- Regular instead of extra cheese
- Veggie toppings over fatty meats
- Smaller sizes and fewer slices
On average, one slice of a medium 12-inch cheese pizza contains around 285 calories, while one slice of veggie pizza has roughly 300 calories.
Be mindful of portions, read nutrition labels when possible, and use healthy preparation methods for guilt-free pizza you can enjoy even on a diet!