Healthy Eating at Davanni's

Balanced Food for Balanced People

Healthy eating - it sounds boring doesn't it? Well let me share really good news with you - it can be delicious and it is really easy to do at Davanni's. (more...)

In a life before Pontillo's/Davanni's I worked with a chain of health food stores. I studied nutrition at the University of Mn. and wrote many articles on nutrition, vitamins, diets, etc. I have lived through just about every diet fad (and scare) there have been (including the Atkin's diet twice - the first time in the early 1970's). I remember when trans-fats were heralded by the medical community as the healthy alternative to saturated fats. In a nutshell, here's some of what I've learned.

Moderation and Balance

If you want to eat and live healthy, the key is moderation and balance in everything. This applies to food, alcohol, stress... even exercise. (more...)

I'm sure you can think of news stories about some highly conditioned athlete (marathon runner, professional basketball or football player suddenly dropping dead). Yet, we all know the benefits of regular and moderate exercise. In fact, walking is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Recent studies have shown that a small amount of stress is probably healthy and even "bad things" like alcohol and coffee actually have health benefits in moderation. If most of what you eat is reasonably healthy, the occasional brownie, cookie or rice crispy treat won't hurt you at all.

Pizza, a Health Food?

Pizza has a reputation as being "junk food", a virtual "heart attack on a disk". Yet a British Medical Journal study recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that compared to individuals who did not eat pizza, those eating it at least once a week had a reduced risk of heart attack of about 40 percent. (more...)

For those eating pizza at least twice a week, heart attack risk appeared to be slashed by more than half. Another study of 8000 people in Milan, Italy (where else?) found that the people, who ate the most pizza, had the fewest cases of cancer.

So which is it, healthy or not? Well, like most things, it all depends on you and the choices you make - remember moderation and balance. Crusts loaded with sugar and shortening with tons of extra cheese and every type of meat that ever walked the earth (or crusts stuffed with cheese like some of our competitors) and you have enough saturated fats (bad cholesterol) and sodium to clog King Kong's arteries. Just 2 slices of Pizza Hut's Meat Lover's pizza contain 70% of your daily allowance of sodium and 116% of your saturated fat allowance. That's before you start dipping your crust in fake butter or ranch dressing.

Can you create an unhealthy pizza at Davanni's? Sure. But since we start healthier, it is a bit more difficult to turn a Davanni's pizza into a "death disk". We use very little salt and sugar in our dough (less than any of our competitors) and no shortening. Our tomato sauce starts with fresh tomatoes that are slow cooked to retain as much of the fresh tomato flavor and nutrients as possible. Done right, in moderation, Davanni's pizza can be a very healthy and nutritious part of your diet. Why?

  • It is balanced and complete.
  • It is essentially a meal in itself. It contains all of the major food groups.
  • It is high in protein, vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates.
  • Tomatoes (pizza sauce) are high in vitamin C (which enhances the immune system and speeds healing), vitamin A (which protects our eyes and immune system), lycopene (a powerful anti-oxidant) and carotenoids (cancer fighter).
  • Mozzarella and Romano cheese are good sources of vitamin D and vitamin A. In fact Sicilian Pecorino Romano (made from goat's milk), which we import and use, was recently identified as one of the reasons that people from that part of the world live longer than any other.
  • Basil, oregano and black pepper are strong anti-oxidants (which protect cells from radiation and aging) and help prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria. Garlic also has other potent properties that help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Healthy Pizzas

Making Your Davanni's Pizza Even Healthier! (more...)


  • If you are concerned about carbohydrates, order thin crust.
  • Order half cheese. You'll still get plenty of cheese and flavor (the flavors of the other ingredients will really jump out) while significantly reducing the fat and sodium content. If you need more cheese flavor, add extra Romano.
  • Order just one meat topping - Canadian bacon and chicken breast are the best, although our hamburger and sausage are pre-cooked, so they are very lean as well. If you have to have your pepperoni, order just half a portion spread over the whole pizza, like with the cheese.
  • Pile on the veggies, the more the better - fresh-cut Roma tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, spinach, olives and peppers (fresh or oven-roasted), all high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, low in calories and no fat. The only veggie to watch is green olives because of the high salt content of the brine.
  • Occasionally order your pizza with our "white" or "pink" sauce. Olive oil gives you the healthy fat (good cholesterol) your body needs. Olive oil, fresh garlic and black pepper - what could be better for your heart!

Healthy Hoagies

Call them subs, grinders, or hoagies; they are often grouped with other "fast foods" which we all know are unhealthy. Remember the movie "Supersize Me"? Well, our arch-rival Subway and their spokes-model Jerad have spent a ton of money trying to convince you that their subs are more healthy than McDonald's, which isn't much of a claim. (more...)

That's like saying a Big Mac is more nutritious than a ten pound candy bar or a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. I can pretty much guarantee you that eating Subway sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner will probably not result in weight loss, unless your current diet consists entirely of hamburgers, fries and donuts. The fact is that subs, hoagies or any other type of sandwich can be healthy or not so healthy depending on what goes into it. I can tell you that our hoagies are:

  • a complete meal by themselves, with components from all of the food groups,
  • high in protein, vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates,
  • low in sugar and comparatively low in sodium.
  • While not particularly low in calories, you get a lot of "bang for your buck". In other words, they are nutrient rich (the ratio of vitamins and other nutrients to calories is high).
  • Our hoagie buns provide minerals and fiber.
  • Besides being high in protein, our meats and cheeses provide good amounts of Vitamin A (eyes and immune system), the B-complex vitamins (converts carbohydrates into glucose for energy, crucial in the metabolism of fats and protein, and necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system), and Vitamin D (bones, teeth, nervous system, heart function and blood clotting).
  • Tomatoes and other vegetables provide B vitamins, Vitamin C (enhances the immune system and speeds healing), lycopene, carotenoids, necessary minerals and numerous micro-nutrients.

Making Your Hoagy Even Healthier

Subway advertises that some of their 6 inch sandwiches contain less than 6 grams of fat, but read the fine print... (more...)

To reach that level, you only get the meat and a dry bun - yum! A 6 inch chunk of styrofoam contains less than 6 grams of fat too. Our rolls have less shortening and sugar than theirs. Our meats are also much leaner. Our chicken breast, turkey breast, roast beef and pastrami are all oven roasted. Our chicken is 100% breast and not breaded or deep-fried. Our ham and Canadian bacon are naturally (not chemically) smoked. Our pepperoni and salami are "hard" (soft salami, cotto, etc. are much higher in fat) and naturally cured. Our mozzarella has been twice named "Best in the World". We only buy "clean label" products. Our meatballs and sausage contain no fillers. None of our deli meats contain any MSG or texturized soy protein. When it comes to the "meat of the subject", no one buys higher quality than we do, not even the delis at Byerly's and Lund's. The result is, you don't have to leave off all of the good stuff, to eat healthy and still be low fat.

Want low fat with great flavor? Choose from any of these amazing half hoagies: Turkey, Roast Beef, Ham, Pastrami, Chicken Breast, Southwestern Chicken or Veggie. Just order them with no mayo or oil. Because our rolls are healthier and our meats are leaner, you can still have the garlic spread and cheese and be around 10 grams of fat (RDA is 65 grams). Surprised that you can have roast beef and pastrami? That's because we use top cuts of meat that our 97% lean (our turkey breast is 98%).

  • You can also order the Club with no pepperoni, no mayo or oil and be under 10 fat grams.
  • Want it even lower in fat, order it with no cheese, but keep the garlic spread and you'll be closer to 7 grams for any of these hoagies.
  • Need more flavor, replace our normal mayonnaise with our packets of low-fat mayo and/or prepared mustard (zero fat). Of course extra tomatoes, lettuce, onion or other veggies add flavor, fiber and vitamins with no fat.
  • Want to boost the nutrient value of your hoagy even more, substitute spinach for the lettuce. Popeye knew what he was doing. Besides being a strong anti-oxidant, the nutrient content of spinach reads like a multi-vitamin label with 11 different vitamins and 10 essential minerals.
  • What, a half hoagy doesn't fill you?? - then add a side salad with lemon or lite Italian dressing and you can still be under 10 grams for your entire meal.

What About Calories?

In my opinion, calories have been over-emphasized. (more...)

Calories are necessary and provide the energy that your body needs to burn. It is not so much how many calories a food portion contains, but the food value of the calories you consume. Foods loaded with sugar are high in calories, but virtually devoid of nutritional value. At Davanni's, the calories in our pizzas and hoagies are packed with nutrients.

At Davanni's, eating healthy comes naturally, is delicious, easy and isn't boring!