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New Reasons To Celebrate National Pizza Month In October

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October is National Pizza Month – a perfect time to celebrate one of America's most beloved foods.  Now, with the help of the Nestle  Pizza Portion Guide, you can feel even better about serving this family favorite.   "It's all about how much you eat and what else you eat with it," says registered dietitian Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D., author of The Portion Teller Plan, who helped create the new guide.

"I want to help people 'legalize' as many foods as possible in their mind so they don't assume these foods are off-limits if they're trying to eat healthier or lose weight," said Young, who is an adjunct professor at New York University and is one of the country's leading experts on portion size.  "Being mindful of portion size is one of the best ways you can keep enjoying your favorite foods so you won't feel deprived.  When you learn ways to eat what you love (in appropriate portions), you can keep your meals enjoyable and your eating plan on track."

Mindful Approach to Pizza 

Young describes pizza as a "mixed dish" that combines several food groups all in one slice – grains with the crust, calcium-rich dairy, vegetables and protein.  Many favorite pizzas provide every food group in USDA's MyPlate except fruit.  "Since pizza offers many elements of a balanced diet, you can round it out with additional vegetables and fruits to balance your plate.  For example, you can include a slice of pizza, along with steamed vegetables or leafy greens and a fruit salad."

Similar to other mixed dishes and breads, pizza does contain sodium -- in the sauce, dough and toppings -- so moderating your pizza portion can help keep your daily sodium intake consistent with dietary recommendations, Young advises.

Young offers five ways to take a mindful approach to pizza:  

  • Select your favorite kind of pizza.  Consider adding your own vegetable toppings.
  • Check the Nutrition Facts on packaged pizza you prepare at home (shown per "serving size").
  • Limit your personal portion based on what else you've eaten or plan to eat during the day.  One handy tool:  picture your hand as a pizza slice and plan to enjoy only one or two hand's worth.  A child or small woman's hand is smaller, and so are their portions.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits to round out the meal:  a side of vegetables or a large salad and mixed fruit.
  • Savor your selection knowing that you are enjoying a food you love in the right amount for you.  You'll leave the table fully satisfied, but not overly full.  

Get Creative

To help celebrate National Pizza Month, Young recommends a family pizza night.  The key is to keep it fun -- allowing family members an active role in crafting pizza portions tailored to their tastes and needs.  After baking, she suggests carefully slicing pizza into half-serving sizes, based on the serving size shown on the carton.  That gives family members more control to eat the amount they prefer.

Getting creative with additional pizza toppings makes for a nutritious, colorful, customized pizza as well as encourages wholesome, quality family time. Mix and match the following possibilities to keep the fun and flavor in pizza night:

  •  Line up small bowls, each filled with different toppings – diced green and red peppers, broccoli florets, shredded carrots and sliced mushrooms bring color and variety to pizza.
  • Skip starchy vegetables like potatoes for toppings; the pizza crust delivers plenty of delicious starchy goodness.
  • For fun, throw in a few unexpected choices – pineapple, strawberries or blueberries.
  • After baking, try topping your pizza with lightly dressed salad greens, which is a popular offering in restaurants.
  • For more protein, add canned beans, cooked chicken, turkey or shrimp to cheese pizza.
  • Pair your personalized pizza with a large side salad or a bowl of fruit for dessert to complete your meal.
  • Pizza can make for excellent leftovers. To keep your pizza crispy and the cheese bubbly, reheat your pizza in a large skillet, toaster oven, oven or grill, instead of the microwave.

"Kids love pizza and getting inventive when enjoying pizza at home is a great teaching tool for parents," said Young. "Putting the tips to use from the Nestle   Pizza Portion Guide helps kids learn about how to handle their own portions when parents are around so they can apply those lessons in social settings, where they may not be present. Family fun night is a great time to strengthen family bonds and teach smart habits that can last a lifetime."  

The Nestle  Pizza Portion Guide is a part of Nestle's commitment to Nutrition, Health and Wellness.   The Nestle mission of "Good Food, Good Life" is to provide consumers with the best tasting, most nutritious choices in a wide range of food and beverage categories and eating occasions.  For more information on the free Nestle  Pizza Portion Guide, visit


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