MOD Pizza Healthy Options for Athletes
Pizza is a favorite food for many individuals, including athletes. It can be helpful to know the best pizza choices to support athletes with their sports nutrition goals. Let’s take a look at the nutrition needs of athletes. Then we will explore the MOD Pizza menu to identify healthy options that athletes can enjoy.
Nutrition Needs of Athletes
Athletes looking for healthy options at pizza restaurants should focus on ordering a meal that provides a good source of carbohydrates, a moderate amount of lean protein, as well as healthy fats.
Carbohydrates should be at the foundation of an athlete’s sports nutrition meal plan. Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy needed to perform at its best.
Protein is important for athletes to support building and repairing lean muscle mass. Finally, healthy fats are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, supporting optimal brain function, and helping to reduce inflammation in the body.
What is MOD Pizza?
For those who have not had the chance to eat at MOD Pizza, it is a fast-casual pizza restaurant chain. Their menu features individual artisan-style pizzas and salads that customers can build to order.
Patrons can customize their individual pizza with over 40 toppings. Topping options include lean proteins, a wide variety of fresh vegetable ingredients, as well as an assortment of cheese and sauce selections. The pizzas are rapidly cooked in a stone pizza oven and ready for customers within minutes.
MOD Pizza Healthy Options for Athletes
Let’s now take a look at the Mod Pizza menu to identify healthy options for athletes.
All the nutrition information included in this article comes from the MOD Pizza® website. Menu options and nutrition information may change as products are updated. For the most current nutrition information, refer to the MOD Pizza website.
MOD Pizza Healthy Crust Options
For the base of the pizza, athletes will want to choose a carbohydrate-rich crust. MOD Pizza has several varieties of crust that athletes can select from to help them meet their sports nutrition needs.
The regular 11” pizza made with MOD crust provides 88 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of protein, making it a great choice for an athlete’s pizza.
Mega Dough Crust
MOD Pizza also offers the 11” pizza with a Mega Dough crust. The Mega Dough crust is made with the same MOD dough from the original pizza, just with double the amount of dough. Thus, your original MOD Pizza now becomes a thick crust pizza. The Mega Dough crust provides 176 grams of carbohydrates and 32 grams of protein.
Athletes may consider a Mega Dough crust when trying to carbohydrate load for an upcoming event. In addition, if you plan to eat only half of your pizza and take the rest for another meal, choose the Mega Dough crust for added carbohydrates.
Does MOD Pizza Have Gluten-Free Crust?
MOD Pizza does offer a gluten-friendly crust made with rice flour instead of wheat flour. However, MOD Pizza states the following on their website:
“Since we prepare our food on one serving line, we cannot guarantee that any of our menu items are free of allergens or gluten, and none of our crust options are recommended for those with a gluten sensitivity.”
MOD Pizza Healthy Sauce Options
I typically suggest athletes choose a tomato-based sauce for their pizzas. Tomatoes contain Vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene. Thus, choosing a tomato-based sauce is an easy way to add the nutritional benefits of tomatoes to your pizza. MOD Pizza offers a red sauce that is made with vine-ripened tomatoes that is a great option.
Other healthy sauce options athletes may choose to enjoy on their pizza include: BBQ sauce, a garlic rub, extra virgin olive oil, or pesto. The extra virgin olive oil and pesto both contain healthy, unsaturated fats, making them a nutritious addition (in moderation) to your pizza.
MOD Pizza Healthy Cheese Options
In general, cheese tends to be high in saturated fat. However, there are several options that tend to be lower in saturated fat than others. Mozzarella cheese is a good option for pizza, containing 4 grams of saturated fat and 7 grams of protein per ¼ cup serving.
Other cheese selections that are lower saturated fat options include:
- Feta Cheese: 3.5 grams saturated fat, 5 grams of protein
- Ricotta Cheese: 4.5 grams saturated fat, 7 grams of protein
MOD Pizza also offers a dairy-free cheese. The dairy-free cheese does not contain milk. Therefore, it is a good option for individuals who are lactose intolerant.
MOD Pizza Healthy Protein Toppings
When athletes are selecting protein toppings for their MOD Pizza, they will want to look for lean protein sources that are low in saturated-fat. Below are several lean proteins that are healthy options for your pizza.
- Canadian Bacon: 9 grams of protein, 0 grams saturated fat
- Grilled Chicken: 12 grams of protein, 0.5 grams saturated fat
- Spicy Chicken Sausage: 11 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of saturated fat
Another nutritious protein topping for your pizza is anchovies. One serving of anchovies provides 4 grams of protein and 0.5 grams of saturated fat. Anchovies are an excellent source of healthy, omega-3 fatty acids, thus they are a great addition to your pizza.
What Type of Sausage Topping is Healthiest?
MOD Pizza offers several types of sausage that individuals can select from for their pizza. It is worth noting that the mild sausage topping (made with pork), is much higher in total fat and saturated fat than the spicy chicken sausage. Thus, if an athlete wants sausage on their pizza, the spicy chicken sausage is a leaner option.
MOD Pizza also offers a plant-based Italian sausage as a pizza topping. The plant-based Italian sausage provides 6 grams of protein and 0 grams of saturated fat. Athletes following a plant-based diet may enjoy this option to add protein to their pizza.
MOD Pizza Healthy “Veggies and Good Stuff” Toppings
A great aspect of MOD Pizza is the wide variety of fresh vegetable toppings they offer. Vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Thus, I encourage athletes to add vegetables to their meals any chance they get.
Some of my top recommendations for toppings athletes can consider adding to their pizza include:
- Spinach, arugula, broccoli
- Red onion, mushrooms, tomatoes
- Red and green bell peppers
- Artichokes, roasted corn
- Black and green olives
- Garlic, oregano, rosemary, basil
MOD Pizza Finishing Sauces
Once an athlete has designed the perfect pizza, the final touch is topping it with a swirl of finishing sauce. Athletes can use the finishing sauce as a way to add a few more carbohydrates to their pizza. Here are a few options to consider:
- BBQ Swirl: 8 grams of carbohydrates, fat free
- Balsamic Fig Glaze: 8 grams of carbohydrates, fat free
- Mike’s Hot Honey: 18 grams of carbohydrates, fat free
MOD Pizza Healthy Salad Options
As I mentioned previously, athletes should try to add a wide variety of vegetables to their sports nutrition meal plan. At MOD Pizza, individuals can order a custom-made mini salad to enjoy with their pizza.
When creating the salad, make sure to include leafy greens, such as spinach, arugula, mixed greens, and romaine lettuce, as the base of the salad. Then load up the salad with a variety of fresh vegetable toppings.
Healthy salad dressing options at Mod Pizza include: lemon vinaigrette, sherry Dijon vinaigrette, zesty roma, and Greek herb and tahini. Order the salad dressing on the side so you can control the amount added.
MOD Pizza Healthy Options for Athletes
You are now set with ideas for building a healthy meal for athletes at MOD Pizza. Remember, the key to building a meal that meets your sports nutrition needs is to include a good source of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.
For additional sports nutrition tips for dining out, check out my blog: 10 Whataburger Healthy Options for Athletes.
Join the Nutrition By Mandy Email List & Get a Free Athlete’s Grocery List
Click HERE to join the Nutrition By Mandy e-mail list. When you join you will receive a free athlete’s grocery list to print and take with you to the store.
About the Author
Mandy is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Mandy has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation. Learn more about the work Mandy does here.