Pizza Night: Healthy Tips for a Family Favorite

Posted by Amanda Ford, MS, RDN, LD

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tags: MyPlate, Diet

Looking for an easy dinner? Pizza may be the perfect solution. It’s fast, easy and everyone can join in the fun. It’s also sure to be eaten when everyone gets involved in the prep work. With a few additions, it can also be a nutritious family favorite. Ready to plan your next pizza night? Here’s what you need to know:

Making it Nutritious and Delicious

Plan your plate. Make it a goal to make pizza a MyPlate meal by including all five food groups: grains, dairy, vegetables, fruits and protein. Looking to add a little extra nutrition? Consider really highlighting these foods:

  • Great Grains. Whole grains can be an easy swap, and they are so beneficial. Whole grains supply B vitamins, iron, magnesium and fiber, nutrients that keep your heart pumping and your body moving. When we use whole grain crust, we offer our kids a food they love with a little extra nutrition slipped in. If your kids have never had whole grains before, pizza may be the best place to start.
  • Cheese Please! Cheese truly makes a pizza. It also benefits your body. When we add cheese to our pizza, we add essential vitamins and minerals including high-quality protein, calcium, potassium and vitamin D. These nutrients help build your bones, keep your heart healthy and boost your immunity. For kids, cheese pairs perfectly with other foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, helping them get more of the nutrients they need.
  • Favorite Fruits and a Variety of Vegetables. Offering nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and potassium, fruits and vegetables help maintain and repair your body. Fruit may not be your first thought when it comes to pizza, but you may want to reconsider. Getting creative with apples, pears or figs can help your pizza have a savory and sweet profile. A winning combination! Top that pizza with veggies and complete your plate with a side salad. Theadditional fiber will help keep you fuller longer.

Find a New Favorite Recipe

Getting everyone in the kitchen to make pizza is a family favorite in my house. What other food are you encouraged to toss, stretch and top?  When my daughter is older, you bet I'll be getting her involved in the fun of cooking, she will be more likely to eat what we make. Looking for inspiration? Try these delicious pizza pie recipes from chef Jon Ashton:

Find ideas for getting your kids in the kitchen. Discover more family recipes you’ll love.

Amanda Ford, MS, RDN, LD

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