There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a frozen meal when you’re short on time or had a long day and don’t feel like whipping up something in the kitchen from scratch. There are some options out there that aren’t all that bad for you! And it’s no secret that frozen pizza is an easy and quick way to have the classic comfort food in your hands in no time, great for those chilly winter nights in particular when you need something extra cozy and warm to bite into. Yet not all frozen pizzas are the same.
In fact, frozen pizza can be rather unhealthy based on the toppings, crust style, sodium levels, and any other additives that might be present. Of course, you should browse the aisle and check the labels to find better options, but here’s a handy hint as to the number one frozen pizza you should never, ever buy, according to a dietitian.
The worst frozen pizza you should always stay away from is…
DiGiorno Three Meat Croissant Crust Pizza
Per serving: 410 calories, 22 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 840 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 17 grams protein
Don’t be fooled by this light, airy sounding, flaky croissant crust that DiGiorno is offering up.
“This pizza is high in calories, sodium, saturated fat, and carbs and the ingredient list is really long, with mostly processed ingredients,” says Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD, CDN.
Compared to other regular frozen pizzas, this is one of the highest in calories per serving, too. And we all know how hard it is to stick to just one small slice! If you’re looking to drop a few pounds this pizza surely won’t do you any favors. Plus, the sodium is ridiculously high.
“Anyone who is sodium-sensitive or who has high blood pressure should avoid this pizza,” Schapiro says, as excess sodium intake also raises the risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, and stroke.
“[This pizza] is high in carbs, and low in fiber, not a good combination,” she adds. See, all those carbs will just bloat you and they are refined, as opposed to complex and fibrous, which would be better for your gut and serve as adequate fuel for your body. Fiber slows digestion, Schapiro explains, which leads to fullness. So without the right fiber and just eating white carbs, you won’t feel satiated. You may then grab a dessert after a few slices of pizza, for example! (And just so you know, here is the easy way to make healthier comfort foods.)
So what should you eat instead?
You can still enjoy a frozen pizza pie, as long as you’re looking for the right kind. Go for cauliflower crust pizza, which is lower in carbs, Schapiro recommends.
“I’m a huge fan of cauliflower crust pizza, but you have to be careful and make sure you are choosing one with minimal ingredients,” she explains. “I like the Traditional Original Italian Crust from Cauliflower Foods. It only has 6 ingredients, all of which are natural and you can pronounce.” There are no processed ingredients, and overall, it is low in calories, and carbs, as well as sodium, compared to most pizza crusts. It’s also a good option for those on low carb diets, like keto or paleo, or even if you’re just looking for a healthier, lower-calorie, more veggie-dense option.
“You can also buy a whole wheat crust, and top it with your own toppings! It’s a lot healthier if you top with your own sauce, cheese, and veggies,” Schapiro says. She’s a fan of the pizza kit from Plant-Strong Foods.
“The first ingredient is whole wheat flour, and it has 3 grams of fiber,” she says, which is relatively good for pizza crust. “There are only six all-natural ingredients, and it is very low in sodium, so it is a great choice for those who are watching their weight and trying to keep their sodium low,” she adds.
See, it’s still possible to enjoy a night in with frozen pizza. As long as you’re not choosing the worst option, that is!