Are you a fan of savory, doughy Italian delights like calzone or stromboli but also trying to make healthier food choices? Today, I’ll help you navigate this culinary showdown and answer the burning question: Which is better and more nutritious?
I’ll break down these two mouth-watering options’ ingredients, calories, fats, and sodium content so you may choose healthier choices.
Let’s begin with this well-researched blog post.
A Few Words on Calzone and Stromboli
Before we dig into the healthiness of calzone and stromboli, let’s have a quick overview of what they are.
What is Calzone?
A calzone is an Italian oven-baked turnover resembling a d-shape cushion that originated in Naples in the 18th century as an on-the-go meal. It’s made from Neapolitan dough and stuffed with salami, ham or vegetables, mozzarella and ricotta cheese, and an egg. Overall, the calzone looks like half but pillowy Neapolitan pizza.
What is Stromboli?
Stromboli is a pizza dough baked turnover filled with various Italian cheeses and cold meat, just like calzone. Italian-Americans invented Stromboli in the United States in Philadelphia during the 1950s.
Stromboli differs from calzone in shape, choice of cheese, and quantity of cured meat filling. Ultimately, the rolling technique makes stromboli look entirely different from calzone. To serve, the stromboli is cut into slices which feature filling in spiral-like structure.
Stromboli vs. Calzone: Which is Healthier?
Here, we discuss the healthiness of stromboli and calzone by breaking down their components and ingredients.
Pizza Dough as Main Component of Stromboli and Calzone
Let’s begin with discussing the healthiness of pizza dough as the main component of calzone. Pizza dough, which forms the foundation of stromboli and calzone, consists primarily of three main ingredients: all-purpose flour, water, and yeast.
All-purpose flour is the main ingredient and provides carbohydrates, which are an essential energy source. However, it lacks significant nutrients and fiber. Therefore, pizza dough isn’t a healthier component of stromboli or calzone. You might be OK with your stromboli or calzone having pizza dough crust.
Yet, if you’re suffering from health conditions like acid reflux, the pizza dough might be the first thing you should avoid in your stromboli or calzone. Instead, opt for whole wheat pizza dough besides healthier fillings for making stromboli or calzone–your homemade stromboli can be a healthier option.
Healthiness of Calzone Fillings
The healthiness of a calzone largely depends on the ingredients used. Here is a breakdown of the most common fillings you get in a calzone.
Cured Italian Meats
Though used in smaller quantities in calzone, as compared with stromboli, cured Italian meats in calzone can have drawbacks for health.
These meats, like pepperoni and salami, are high in saturated fats and sodium. Excessive consumption of these ingredients can contribute to elevated cholesterol levels and increased blood pressure, which are risk factors for heart disease.
Some cured meats may contain nitrites and nitrates, compounds linked to certain cancers, when consumed in large amounts. In a nutshell, besides plain flour, the cured meats are the only thing to make your calzone less healthy.
The types and quantities of cheeses used, such as ricotta and mozzarella, influence a calzone’s healthiness.
Ricotta cheese is healthier because it’s lower in calories, fat, and sodium and higher in protein, calcium, vitamin A, B12, and riboflavin.
Mozzarella cheese is also healthy, yet it’s higher in calories, fat, and sodium and lower in protein and calcium than ricotta.
So, as for calzone, the use of cheese contributes to the overall healthiness of calzone. Yet, you can make your calzone healthier by opting for 100% use of ricotta cheese and skipping mozzarella.
Authentic tomato pizza sauce comprising San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and a pinch of salt is a healthy addition to your calzone. Applied as a thin layer on calzone, tomato sauce adds flavor and is a source of vitamins and antioxidants like lycopene.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Though not a primary ingredient, extra virgin olive oil is drizzled over calzone after applying tomato sauce. It aims at achieving a golden red color to the exterior of the calzone, besides adding flavor.
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. When used in moderation, it adds flavor and has potential health benefits. Just be mindful of the amount you use, as oil is calorie-dense. Overall, it’s a tastier and healthier ingredient for calzones.
A calzone makes a better nutritious meal owing to its healthy fillings like veggies, cheese, tomato sauce, and cheese usage. By replacing cured meats with healthier lean proteins and adding veggies to your calzone, you can transform it into a healthier, tasty, and balanced choice.
Healthiness of Stromboli
Just like calzone, the healthiness of a stromboli also depends on the ingredients used in the filling.
Let’s break down the common ingredients and their health-friendliness.
Pepperoni, Salami, and Ham and Other Cured Meats
As compared with calzone, stromboli has cured Italian meats in almost 3x quantity to add colors to the spiral cuts of stromboli. These cured meats can be unhealthy because of several reasons.
First, they’re high in saturated fats, which can raise LDL cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.
Second, they’re often laden with sodium (salt) to preserve them, contributing to high blood pressure and water retention when consumed excessively.
Third, cured meats have preserving agents like sodium, nitrites, and nitrates, which make them more acidic. Because of their usage in large quantities, stromboli is more acidic–bad for people dealing with chronic inflammation or acid reflux.
Moreover, cured meats can contain potentially harmful compounds like nitrites and nitrates linked to certain cancers.
So, it’s wise to skip them and replace them with healthier alternatives like lean meats.
Cheese (Mozzarella or Provolone)
Types of cheese used in stromboli, like mozzarella and provolone, are a good source of calcium, protein, and probiotics, yet they can also be high in saturated fat and calories. And, when you compare mozzarella with provolone, the former is slightly healthier owing to lower calories and sodium. So, by opting for mozzarella cheese or reduced-fat cheese, or use less cheese to reduce the fat content while still enjoying the flavor.
Tomato sauce is a part of stromboli filling. It can add some vitamins and antioxidants to your stromboli.
However, be mindful of added sugars and salt in store-bought sauces. Making your sauce or choosing low-sodium options is a healthier choice.
Because of the heavy use of sodium and saturated fats, rich cured meat, and high-calorie cheese, stromboli tends to be unhealthy. Eating stromboli regularly may raise the risk of weight gain, heart issues, and digestive problems.
Stromboli vs. Calzone: Which Has More Calories?
Stromboli and calzone are both delicious, doughy delights, but when it comes to calories, it often depends on the ingredients and portion size.
Generally, stromboli has more calories. The reason is the use of many fillings, like meats, fatty cheeses in large quantities, which can add up in calories.
On the other hand, calzone tends to be more restrained. It’s stuffed with cheese, sauce, meats and vegetables, and eggs (sometimes), but not as overstuffed as a stromboli. The thicker dough in a calzone might make it slightly more calorie-heavy than a pizza slice, but it’s often less calorie-dense than a stromboli when considering the fillings.
Here is a table showing the calorie and nutrition profile of calzone and stromboli.
|Sodium||1095 mg||1510 mg|
|Carbohydrates||110 g||149 g|
Remember, though, the exact calorie count can vary widely based on the recipe and size, so it’s a good idea to check nutrition labels or ask the restaurant for specific information if you’re concerned about calories.
So, Calzone or Stromboli: Which is More Healthy?
Calzone makes a healthier option between the two. It often contains fewer calories, less unhealthy fats, and lower sodium levels than stromboli. However, it’s essential to choose your ingredients wisely when preparing or ordering a calzone, opting for lean proteins, plenty of vegetables, and portion control to maintain its healthiness. Individual recipes and restaurant offerings can vary, so it’s always a good idea to check specific nutritional information if available.
Tips for Enjoying Healthier Calzone or Stromboli
Here are some easy tips to make your calzone or stromboli healthier without sacrificing taste:
Choose Whole Wheat Dough
Opt for whole wheat dough instead of regular white dough. Whole wheat adds fiber and nutrients, making your meal more filling and nutritious.
Use Lean Proteins
Select lean proteins like grilled chicken, turkey, or tofu instead of fatty or processed meats like pepperoni or salami. Lean proteins are lower in saturated fat and calories.
Add Plenty of Veggies
Load up on vegetables like bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. They add vitamins, minerals, and fiber while reducing calorie density.
Go Easy on Cheese
Cheese is delicious but can be calorie-heavy. Use less cheese or choose reduced-fat varieties to cut down on saturated fats.
Limit High-Sodium Ingredients
Be mindful of high-sodium ingredients like cured meats or certain sauces. Excess sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. Opt for lower-sodium options when available.
Homemade Tomato Sauce
Make your own tomato sauce with fresh ingredients to control added sugar and salt. This allows for a healthier, more flavorful sauce.
Use Herbs and Spices
Flavor your calzone or stromboli with herbs and spices like basil, oregano, and garlic instead of excessive salt or high-calorie sauces.
Keep portion sizes reasonable to avoid overeating. Sharing a calzone or stromboli with a friend or saving half for later can help with portion control.
Serve with a Side Salad
Pair your calzone or stromboli with a side salad filled with leafy greens and colorful vegetables to boost nutrition and fiber.
By incorporating these tips, you can enjoy a healthier calzone or stromboli that’s delicious and better for your overall well-being.
Stromboli vs. Calzone: Which Has More Sodium and Unhealthy Fats?
Stromboli tend to have more sodium and bad fats owing to larger quanity of cured meats, which contributes to the overall unhealthiness of stromboli. Additionally, the cheese in stromboli can be a source of sodium and saturated fats, mainly if you use it a lot. On the other hand, calzones usually contain fewer of these salty, fatty ingredients, making them a slightly healthier choice in terms of sodium and unhealthy fats.
Still, it’s essential to be mindful of ingredients and portion sizes to keep these levels in check when enjoying these tasty treats.
Stromboli vs. Calzone: Which Can You Have on Weight Loss?
A calzone is the better choice if you’re focusing on weight loss. It often contains fewer calories less unhealthy fats and sodium than stromboli. However, portion size and ingredient choices are crucial, so be mindful of what goes into your calzone to keep it in line with your weight loss goals.
Stromboli vs. Calzone: Which is Bad for Acid Reflux?
Both stromboli and calzone can trigger acid reflux because of their ingredients, like plain flour, pizza dough, and cured meats. Yet, stromboli can prove worse because of its higher content of acidic cured meats and its rolled-up form, which can hinder digestion.
To minimize acid reflux risk when enjoying Italian delights like pizza, calzone, or stromboli, follow a few tips:
- Opt for Lean Proteins: Choosing calzone or stromboli with lean proteins like grilled chicken or turkey is beneficial. Lean meats are less likely to trigger acid reflux than fatty or processed cured meats.
- Add Veggies: Incorporating vegetables into your calzone or stromboli can be a good idea. Vegetables are less acidic. Besides this, they can help balance the meal with fiber and nutrients.
- Avoid Adding Acidic Ingredients: Clear acidic ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, or garlic. These can exacerbate GERD symptoms as they increase stomach acid production.
- Eat Slowly: The digestion process begins in your mouth. Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly helps maximum digestion and prevents excess pressure on the stomach.
- Avoid Bedtime Consumption: Refrain from eating calzone or stromboli right before bedtime. Lying down with a full stomach can increase the likelihood of acid reflux.
- Avoid Large Portions: Eating in smaller portions can help prevent overloading your stomach, reducing the pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter, which can prevent acid reflux.
- Avoid Pairing with carbonated beverages, spicy/fatty foods, alcohol, and caffeine: Calzone or stromboli might not be the sole cause of acid reflux, but pairing them with unhealthy choices can trigger your acid reflux symptoms.
By following these tips you can minimize the risk of GERD symptoms and enjoy calzone or stromboli. Consult your doctor if you experience acid reflux symptoms, as they may suggest medications or lifestyle changes.