Pizza for Dinner? 8 Tips to Making It Healthier
In my post on eating dinner together as a family, I admit that sometimes I cut corners by ordering pizza for dinner. During an interview with the group Thriving Schools, I also mentioned surviving the work-kid juggle by ordering pizza at times. I was asked about the wisdom of these admissions.
Perhaps @KPKiddoc should be putting a healthier face on her slice of life?
Let’s face it, pizza is everywhere. It’s hard to raise kids without it. Schools serve it often. Every soccer team party features pizza. And yes, tired moms depend on it. However, since it can be high in saturated fat and salt, pizza can be a nutritional nightmare. Given this, it’s not surprising that I might be warned to be more health conscious.
We want to feed our kids well, and we’re looking for tips on how to do so. A google search of “is pizza healthy?” generates 9,640,000 responses. My answer is, “Yes. It can be.” Here’s how:
- Have just 1 or 2 slices. Since 1 slice is more than enough for a small child, consider cutting it in half. Two slices are sufficient, even for my athletic teens. At the dinner table, discuss the concept of moderation and portion size with your kids.
- Fill the rest of their plate with salad.
- Have a whole-wheat or vegetable crust. And definitely don’t get it “stuffed” with cheese.
- Order or use less cheese. You can order extra cheese, right? (I suggest you don’t do it!) Turns out you can also order less cheese which will cut down on the fat. Most kids won’t notice the difference.
- Skip the meat. Your kids will be happy without it. They don’t need pepperoni to bribe them into eating it … just say no.
- Add veggies. Same concept: kids like pizza enough that they usually will eat some veggies with it. If not, that’s what salad is for.
- Skip the fast food restaurant version.
- Make your own. Ok, not for a night when you’re tired – but a fun family project.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, a quarter of all children ages 6 to 19 eat pizza on any given day – so it seems that our love affair with this meal is here to stay. Let’s just work to make it a healthier choice for our kids.
“In Napoli where love is king
When a boy meets a girl
Here’s what they sing
When the moon hits your eye
Like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!”
– Harry Warren and Jack Brooks
Disclaimer: If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder. This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.