A recent radio show broadcasted that research from the CDC stated that kids in America are eating too much pizza, which is not a healthy food. I was a bit puzzled, so I wanted to get a little more information on the actual research.
The CDC report is actually on sodium intakes in children and adolescents in the US. Like adults, children and adolescents are consuming more sodium than they need. And even in children, this can lead to increased blood pressure.
Why do we care? First, we don’t want to start kids off with health problems, like high blood pressure. This will only increase the likelihood of these problems as adults. Second, sodium intake is a taste preference. As children are developing their tastes and dietary preferences, we want to give them a healthy palate. Reducing intake when young will hopefully help prevent them from over consuming as adults.
So where does pizza come in? Pizza is the number one contributor of sodium to children and adolescent diets. Bread, poultry, cold cuts, and sandwiches round out the top five. Noticably, these are foods that naturally have high sodium. This isn’t about teaching kids to not salt their food. It is about teaching them to watch their consumption of foods naturally high in sodium.
So can your kid eat pizza? Of course! But, beware of the amount of cheese and cured meats on your toppings. Stick for less cheese, fresh cooked meats, veggies, and homemade sauce if possible. All of these allow you greater control of the sodium going in. Here are a couple of my favorites for pizza:
What are your favorite adaptations to make pizza more healthy? Share them in the comments!