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Pizza Hut’s Fit ‘N Delicious pizza lives up to its name

By Daily Herald - | Nov 18, 2003

This week I reached out for a new (run for the hills, everybody) lower-fat and lower-calorie Hawaiian pizza — with lean ham, nutritious pineapple chunks and half the normal mountain of cheese — from Pizza Hut.

That’s it — it’s been nice knowing you, the world is coming to an end, please turn out the lights.

I understand people wanting to eat healthy … but pizzafi Pizza should be the one thing the health craze can’t touch. If it’s not greasy and messy and fatty and just absolutely horrible for you, I don’t think they should even be allowed to call it “pizza.” But this is my job, so, while I have to bear it, I refuse to grin …

Here’s the blueprint: a large pizza with slices of ham, pineapple chunks, a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese and double the tomato sauce on a Thin ‘N Crispy crust.

Total calories: 160 (per slice). Fat grams: 4. Dietary fiber: 1 gram. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $10 for a large pizza (will vary).

The Hawaiian special is one of Pizza Hut’s new line of Fit ‘N Delicious lean, mean pizzas that deliver 25 percent less calories and fat, and — I gotta admit — about 99 percent of the fun and flavor of Pizza Hut’s regular pies.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. For years, when I’ve called for Pizza Hut delivery, I’ve asked them to put only half the cheese on my sausage-and-green-pepper Big New Yorker. Cutting back on cheese is like switching to diet soft drinks — there’s no going back. Once you get used to sugar-free, a regular soda tastes like you’re gargling pure Coke syrup straight from the bottling plant. Same thing with pizza. A little cheese won’t hurt you — literally — and in a short while, you’ll have it no other way.

Pizza Hut has designated two lean meats (ham and white-meat chicken) and six veggies (mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, red peppers, diced tomatoes, red onions and green peppers) as preferred toppings on its Fit ‘N Delicious pizzas. The possibilities are not endless, but it’s a pretty large number.

The big deal is that you get about half the cheese as a normal Pizza Hut pie. But you get more sauce, meat and veggie toppings. It’s a fair trade, especially since the price remains the same.

I’ll crunch the numbers for you: A large slice of pepperoni pizza has about 200 calories and 8 grams of fat. If you go with chicken, red onion and green peppers, the slice has only 155 calories and 4 grams of fat. These numbers go up and down as you mix and match combinations, but across the board, you’re saving about 25 percent on both calories and fat.

Of course, if you eat the whole pizza, like I do, the percentage stays the same, but the totals go through the roof.

Fit ‘N Delicious pizzas use Pizza Hut’s traditional tomato sauce, not the slightly sweeter blend used on the Big New Yorker.

The crust is Thin ‘N Crispy, not the fatter, higher-calorie Hand Tossed. Thin ‘N Crispy has fewer calories, less fat, more crumbs and more vacuuming the next morning. Or, if you’re like me, the vacuuming can wait until about 30 minutes before company comes over.

Will lower-calorie and lower-fat pizzas swingfi Even with the big move toward healthier eating, it’s not a slam-dunk for Pizza Hut. Remember, the top two choices for toppings are pepperoni and extra cheese — two no-no’s on the Fit ‘N Delicious menu.

One suggestion: Take advantage of Pizza Hut’s two-pizza coupons. Get a regular for you and a Fit ‘N Delicious for your kids. Let them eat as you say, not as you do. Hook ’em young on smart eating.

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page B1.

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