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:
Artichoke Pesto Pizza
White Chicken Pizza
Homemade Pizza Dough
What are your favorite adaptations to make pizza more healthy? Share them in the comments!
Q: What can I eat to keep my electrolytes balanced properly on a normal diet?
A: Electrolytes are essential for our body to function–they maintain a water balance and allow our muscles to contract, our nerves to send signals to the brain, and our body to convert the calories we eat into energy.
It’s important to maintain the right levels of electrolytes through healthy eating, but our bodies generally do a good job regulating them. It’s pretty unusual for dangerous fluctuations to occur in healthy individuals. People with chronic disease or severe illnesses may need to be more careful.
Here are some of the main electrolytes in our body, and some of the best good food sources for them:
- Sodium – We all consume most of our sodium from salt. Salt is added to almost all of the foods we eat, including bread, cereals, and canned goods. Most people need to limit their sodium intake, rather than focus on getting enough.
- Potassium – Fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium. Oranges, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, bananas, kiwis, and apricots are all examples. Milk, yogurt, and meat also provide potassium.
- Chloride – Combined with sodium to make salt, chloride is abundant in our diets. It is also naturally found in many vegetables, such as seaweed, tomatoes, and lettuce.
- Magnesium – Foods rich in fiber often are good sources of magnesium. Whole grains, beans, spinach, and nuts are examples.
- Phosphorus – Meat and milk are the main sources of phosphorus. There is some phosphorus in whole grains as well, although this is not absorbed when we eat it.
- Calcium – Dairy is the best source of dietary calcium. As I mentioned here, green leafy vegetables besides spinach, calcium-fortified beverages, and some bread products also provide calcium.
Thanks for the question!
Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!
Filed under Nutrition, q&a