Is All Pizza Bad for You?

When thinking about healthy eating one doesn’t necessarily think of pizza, though some are still convinced that it is the ultimate food offering something from all food groups. So does pizza have anything to offer nutritionally? Well unfortunately, any nutrients that you might get from the toppings are cancelled out by the high sodium, high sugar, high fat delivery system. No matter how much we try to count the tomato sauce as a vegetable, and the cheese as protein, most pizza recipes aren’t healthy recipes.  Does that mean you have to avoid pizza forever? Naw…

Don’t avoid pizza – make it healthy!

It is all about the nutritional ratio. H=N/C or Health = nutrients over calories. If you can keep the nutrients high and the calories low, you will indeed have a quintessential kid food that doesn’t derail your efforts at healthy eating.

For pizza delivery try these tips:

  • Thin crust beats thick or deep dish crust
  • Whole grain is only better if it is thin crust, the amount of fibre isn’t worth the extra dough
  • Chicken is the best meat, all other meats are too fatty
  • One cheese is plenty  but if you have to add some, add goat’s cheese, it is lower in fat
  • Add as many vegetables as possible to a veggie pizza; olives, sundried tomatoes and capers count
  • Ask for double the tomato sauce
  • Order double the salad and half the pizza that you think you will need
  • Skip all appetizers, they are never worth the calories

When opting for frozen pizza keep these things in mind:

  • Choose whichever thin crust pizza has the lowest sodium count
  • Avoid all meats other than chicken
  • Spread extra tomato paste on frozen top before baking and sprinkle extra herbs, ground flax or chia seeds
  • Add a shake of grated parmesan to keep your new toppings in place
  • Top with arugula or spinach after you remove from the oven
  • If you just can’t cope without a little meat, choose lean prosciutto into small pieces and add after baking

If you would like a crust dip, consider:

  • Tomato or marinara sauce or another healthy pizza sauce
  • Avoid all creamy or cheesy sauces
  • Salsa is low fat and high flavour nutrient dense dip, it goes with everything

So if you want pizza go for it! By following some of these nutritional tips to enhance pizza recipes you can still make this Italian treat a part of healthy eating.


About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at

Dinner time Debates: How to Take the Stress out of Supper

They always love the food they plant!

People often ask what it is like to feed half dozen kids. Feeding families can be a “thing” and many parents report that dinner time can be the most stressful time of the day. I decided early on that I didn’t want meal time to create anxiety for me or my kids, so here are my few tips for relaxing and enjoying  fun family meals.

-          I don’t let myself get upset if the kids turn their noses up at what is being served for dinner. There’s enough variety that they’re going to like something on the menu.  As long as they try one bite of what is being served up, they are welcome to fill their bellies with the raw carrots on the table. No one has starved yet.

-          We keep meals simple and kid friendly. The Daddy-o works out of town during the week and I’m not a foodie, so this adult is happy to make easy dinner recipes and eat with the kiddos.

-          For me, the only thing more annoying than cooking is coming up with fast recipes and meal ideas.  I have a four week meal planner posted in the kitchen for everyone to see. It makes for effective shopping, creates less wasted food and saves me from hearing, “what’s for dinner?” six times a day.

Here is an example of my September meal plan filled with quick recipes. I use one of our quick dinner ideas on Wednesdays because the kids have hot lunches at school that day. I also try to have something they all like on a Monday, because let’s face it – Mondays can be tough. On the last Friday of the month, we order in. The menu is based on different children’s preferences and the evening activity schedule. Some meals are faster to prepare and clean up. Those are meals we have on nights where we have to be at music, dance, hockey and taekwondo right after dinner.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Week 1 Fish and Chips/raw veg Chicken drumsticks/mashed potato/corn Breakfast for dinner (eggs/bacon) Pasta: spaghetti and meatballs Home-made pizza/raw veg
Week 2 Salmon/ asparagus/noodles Chicken breast/ mashed spuds/corn Homemade soup Pasta: pesto Chicken and Cesar salad
Week 3 Tacos Butter chicken and rice Salad wraps Chicken snitzel/roast potatoes/tomato and avocado salsa Hotdogs and hamburgers/salad
Week 4 Cheesy pasta Ribs/noodles/corn on the cob Crepes and omelets Bangers and mash/ peas ORDER IN

Substitutes: curried sausage, chili, perogies, Swedish meatballs and rice, lasagna.

How does your family survive the dinner hour? Do you have any quick and easy dinner ideas or meal planner tips that make this time of day less stressful in your house?


About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Summer Hot Car Safety Tips EVERY Parent Must Read

Everybody knows you shouldn’t leave your child in a hot car in the summer. So, don’t you ever wonder why kids still die in hot cars ever summer then? Didn’t their parents have common sense? Believe me, it’s usually not because their parents didn’t know better.   We all know better.  These are the same parents that go to the trouble of putting their kids in car seats but forget their children are in their car.  How can you forget your child?  It sounds hard to believe, but in fact it’s a frightfully easy thing to do as outlined below.

A hot car is no place for a child!

Confusion due to special occasion:

“We were all saying our good byes after the family reunion.  We took two cars to the event.  I thought my wife took the baby in her car, but she buckled the baby in the car seat in my car instead.  She said she was going to the grocery story on the way home, so when I got home I went inside.  The baby was sleeping – I never heard a peep from the back seat. When she came home 20 minutes after me and asked where they baby was, we realized the confusion, ran to the car…. but it was too late.”

Confusion to due to distraction / change in patterns:

“Our schedule is that I drop the baby at daycare on my way to work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  My wife does the pick up.  I put the baby in the car seat and headed out towards work, but got thinking about an issue at work and somehow because they moved my Tuesday meeting I forgot it was actually Monday and my drop off day.  I just headed to work.  It wasn’t until my wife went to pick up my child at daycare at 4pm that they reported that the child was not dropped off that morning.”

Parents are busy with a lot of minutia to juggle in their hectic lives and in their active minds.  It’s easy to forget keys and it’s easy to forget a schedule.   Forgetting our child does not mean we don’t love our children enough to remember them. It’s not enough to say “I won’t be forgetful”.   Instead we need to create sure-fire summer safety tips to avoid putting our children in danger.  Here are three ways you can prevent a death due to a simple oversight.

  1. Place a teddy bear in the child car seat.  Whenever you strap a child into the car seat, place the teddy bear in the front seat as a visual reminder that the car seat is occupied.
  2. Keep your purse, cell phone or briefcase on the floor of back seat below the car seat.  When you retrieve your purse you’ll be forced to look in the car seat.
  3. LOOK before you go.  Just make it a habit to look in the back seat each time you lock your car.   We look both ways when we cross the street.  We beep our keys to ensure our car doors are locked – why not add one more potentially life saving routine to regime?

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at


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