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The healthiest Pizza Express menu options

Tamara Willner
Written by

Tamara Willner

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

3 min read
Last updated April 2024

Eating out at restaurants is an enjoyable social experience that you shouldn’t have to miss out on for the sake of your health journey. Many people worry that going to restaurants always means overindulging, however, it is possible to eat healthily when eating out.

Pizza Express is a British classic, that caters for a variety of tastes. Although pizza is the signature dish at this chain, there are a number of alternatives that could fit into a healthy eating plan.

It is also completely ok to enjoy a pizza when you really want one. The important thing is that this isn’t a frequent indulgence, and you focus on finding the motivation to get back to your healthy habits afterwards.

Science suggests that a reduced carbohydrate diet is the most effective diet for weight loss. Lower-carb diets are particularly effective for those who struggle with blood glucose control (for e.g. people with type 2 diabetes). On top of this, eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables (e.g. broccoli or peppers), protein (e.g. meat or fish), and healthy fats (e.g. olive oil or nuts) has many health benefits.

To save you time and stress, the registered nutritionists here at Second Nature have gone through the menu and nutritional information of this popular chain and picked out some options that generally fit the bill of lower-carb balanced meals. Vegetarian options are marked with a (v).

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Order without adjustments

These options can be ordered-as-is and enjoyed as part of a healthy diet plan:

  1. Chicken wings + garlic prawns + mixed salad (3 starters/sides)
  2. Marinated olives + garlic king prawns + mixed salad (3 starters/sides)
  3. Buffalo mozzarella salad + halloumi bites + Mixed salad (3 starters/sides) (v)

Order with a few adjustments

These options can be slightly adjusted to be healthier:

  1. Nicoise salad
    Ask to swap the dough sticks for extra avocado
  2. Pollo salad
    Ask to swap the dough sticks for extra avocado
  3. Grand chicken Caesar
    Ask to swap the dough sticks for extra chicken

Enjoy less frequently

These are more indulgent options to be enjoyed, just less often:

  1. Any pizza*
  2. Any pasta dish

*If you really fancy some pizza but do not want to overindulge, consider trying a Pizza Express Leggera pizza. These pizzas have the middle section cut out and replaced with salad. They are also made from wholemeal flour, instead of white flour, which is higher in fibre and slows digestion. Slower digestion means you are more likely to feel somewhat fuller for longer and your blood sugar levels will not spike as dramatically. Taking the ‘La Reine’ pizza as an example (olives, mushrooms and ham), the Leggera version has almost half the amount of carbohydrate compared with the classic version.

Take home message

  • Enjoy a Pizza Express pizza when you really want one, then focus on staying motivated to return to healthy habits afterwards.
  • Reduced carb diets seem to be the most effective for weight loss.
  • If you don’t want to indulge, there are a number of healthy, lower-carb options you can order.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative and pick and choose from starters and sides on the menu.
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