DiGiorno sent me three of their 200 Calorie Portions pizzas: one Chicken with Peppers & Onions, one Pepperoni, and one Cheese and Tomato. There are two 200-calorie pieces of pizza per 6.0-6.6 ounce box.Chicken with Peppers & Onions
The pieces were bigger than I'd expected. I've had "100-calorie snack packs" of things like candy and crackers, and it always seems like it's not enough for a snack. And I'm accustomed to hearing horror stories about how many multiple thousands of calories are in something we'd eat as a regular meal, so I guess I'd have thought a 200-calorie piece of pizza would be about the size of a saltine. But this is a piece I would consider "a piece of pizza"---not some sad little "serving" that would encourage jokes about saltines.
The pizza can be cooked in the microwave or in the oven, so I cooked one piece each way. I started them at the same time, and the microwaved slice was cooked and eaten before the oven was preheated. It took about two minutes to cook a piece in the microwave, and it came out better, I thought, than the piece I did in the oven: the piece in the oven was crisper, but to the point of seeming almost like a cracker, whereas the piece in the microwave was crisp enough to seem pizza-like but not so crisp as to seem cracker-like, and seemed more flavorful and more like regular pizza.
The piece done in the oven LOOKED way better, though. With all three varieties, I had trouble cooking them in the microwave so that all the cheese was melted as the instructions specified. The cheese went from "some melted, some not" to "liquefied" in what seemed like a single second. Whereas the cheese on the pizza cooked in the oven behaved more as cheese usually does. Behold and compare:
Cooked in oven
I think next time if I used the microwave I'd try setting the microwave temperature lower, and if I used the oven I'd try decreasing the oven cooking time to see if I could make the crust less crunchy. Because the oven way definitely results in something that looks more like the front of the box:
I thought it was delicious. I easily ate both 200-calorie pieces, but I have a good-sized appetite and also I wanted to compare microwave vs. oven. I also could have eaten one piece plus a salad, and that would have made a very good meal. My favorite flavor was the Chicken with Peppers & Onions: I thought the taste was best, but also I think the chicken made it the most filling/satisfying variety.
It didn't taste like "diet pizza," it tasted like really good thin-crust pizza. And in fact it's NOT diet pizza: per ounce, the calories are about the same as the DiGiorno thin-crust Pizzas For One.
- 61.18 calories per ounce for the Pizza for One, thin crust chicken and vegetable
- 60.60 calories per ounce for the 200 Calorie Portions, chicken with peppers and onions
- 70.24 calories per ounce for the Pizza for One, thin crust pepperoni
- 66.67 calories per ounce for the 200 Calorie Portions, pepperoni
I think the 200-calorie portions are useful the same way the 100-calorie snack packs are useful: of course we could cut a regular pizza into 200-calorie pieces, but...well, we could also eat 100 calories' worth of cheesy crackers but somehow it ends up being more than that when we're eating them right from the box. A measured portion cues us to stop, and also forces us to eat mindfully: if we have another slice/packet, we know exactly what we're doing. For people starting a new eating plan, measured portions are like training wheels until we get the hang of it. Delicious, delicious training wheels.
You can win a $200 Visa gift card to go get some delicious training wheels of your own. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite pizza toppings by 5:00 p.m. PST on February 22, 2010, when I'll randomly select a winner. The gist of the rules:
1. You have to be at least 18 years old.
2. You have to live in the U.S.
3. One entry per person.
See The Official Rules for the full scoop.
Nine more chances to win gift cards: BlogHer.com special offers page
For more information about 200 Calorie Portions: Official site
For more information about DiGiorno products: DiGiorno Main Website
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