Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Healthy Pizza

Paradise greetings,

This morning's Vero Beach Press Journal featured Russ Lemmon's column on page one with this heading: "Should schools really be pushing pizza?" Russ talked about the banner at an elementary school from a national pizza chain. These banners - and relationships - are at public schools all around Indian River County. According to Russ, Domino's Pizza is giving the schools a minimum of $100/month.

Like Russ says, Domino's is not "doing anything sinister" because "school principals can choose whatever fundraiser they want to do, as long as it's within the School District's guidelines," said the school district's spokeswoman.

Guess what? Sounds like it's time to update the School District's guidelines and policies so they assist school principals to make healthier choices for the kids they serve.

We need leadership from our leaders in education that say we give preference to partnerships with food companies and products which are low in saturated and trans fats. We need leadership that teaches parents that it is not OK for a child to be obese. Who is teaching parents that if children who are obese as adolescents are more likely to be obese as adults? Who is teaching parents and school staff that obesity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, bone and joint disorders, some cancers, and more?

What's the healthiest pizza Domino's makes? What the unhealthiest?

I looked up the nutritional information for one slice of a large Domino's meatzzza pizza pie: 370 calories/slice (1/8 of the pie), with 157.5 mg grams of fat and 950 mg of sodium PER SLICE!!! One slice contains enough fat calories for 2-1/2 DAYS and it's the wrong kind of fat (saturated). Now multiply all this times 2 or 3 slices and no wonder kids are drowning in fat and the size of two children.

The nutritional information is out there on the internet - use it and make healthier choices.

Growing Healthy Kids made some kick-ass whole grain healthy pizzas for our kick-off garden event on October 13th that had all the kids - and staff - scrambling for some. Our results are that when when we give kids a choice, they choose to eat healthier.

What's your recipe for healthy kid-friendly pizza? I'd love to hear from you as we build new partnerships for improving the health - and lives - of children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids