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Pizza Can Be Healthy

Pizza is surely one of American’s favorite foods – sales reached $30 billion last year. It can be high in calories, fat and sodium, but doesn’t have to be, said Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University Research and Extension Rapid Response Coordinator, who offered some tips on making it healthier. This month is all about making one of our favorite foods more healthy!

Pizza makes a fast, easy meal, but did you know that it usually represents as many as four food groups? Here’s how: Crust (grain group); tomato sauce and add-ons, such as onion or green pepper (vegetable group); lean meat or poultry (protein group); and cheese (dairy group).

The trick, said Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University Research and Extension Rapid Response Coordinator, is to not overdo it. One slice can contain 600 calories, 1000 mg of sodium, and 40 or more grams of fat. Pizzas made at home can be lower in calories, fat and sodium than commercially prepared products, she said. Making pizza at home also is one meal children like to help make . Doing so can provide an opportunity for parents to teach children about choosing foods from different food groups, Blakeslee said.

"Stick with one piece; calculate calories, fat, and sodium with other meals and snacks that will be eaten during the day," she said. "If still hungry, add a tossed salad in place of an extra piece of pizza.".

Trim Calories, Fat From Pizza

  • Choose a thin-style crust, or an alternative crust, such as pita bread, or an English muffin;
  • Use reduced-sodium tomato sauce;

  • Choose a vegetarian topping, or increase vegetables in proportion to other lean meat/cheese toppings;

  • Choose reduced calorie and fat cheeses, or use less cheese; and

  • Limit serving size – one or two pieces, depending on the pizza size, style and toppings.

Choosing an individual or ‘personal’ pizza over a slice or two of a larger pie also can be helpful in reducing calories, fat, and sodium.

Information from: Oznet

Click next to read about the Evolution of Pizza and Fun Facts


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