Pizza appeals to all ages. It's a one-dish wonder that can make dinner a snap. But the very ingredients that make pizza so tasty often pack artery-clogging saturated fat, lots of salt and plenty of calories.
To the rescue come a growing number of frozen pizzas that are made with hearty, whole-grain crusts. Some get added flavor from lots of vegetables.
A kid-friendly standout is Earth's Best Whole Grain Cheese Pizza, featuring Sesame Street's beloved Elmo on the package, a marketing tool likely to appeal only to the preschool crowd. Half a small pizza has 190 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat per serving. Compare that with DiGiorno Ultimate Oven Fresh Four Cheese Pizza with about 320 calories per serving and more than twice the saturated fat.
Several pizzas from Kashi also hit some good nutritional notes. Mediterranean Pizza is topped with spinach, onions and red peppers plus four kinds of cheese. One-third of a pizza has 290 calories, 9 grams of fat, including 4 grams of saturated fat. The crust is made from seven grains and flaxseed, which provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart, brain and joints.
Kashi Tomato Garlic Cheese Pizza has a whole-wheat crust, basil sauce and two kinds of cheese, plus tomatoes. It clocks in at 280 calories per serving. Kashi Roasted Vegetable Pizza is topped with broccoli, artichokes, onions, garlic and red peppers. A third of a pizza has 270 calories, 9 grams of fat, including 5 grams of saturated fat.
One sour note: Nearly all pizza is high in sodium. Depending on your age, a slice provides 25 to 33 percent of the daily intake for salt. Serve pizza with a big helping of salad or other fresh vegetables. Have fruit for dessert. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found that the potassium in produce can help offset some of the blood-pressure-raising effects of a lot of salt.
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