AMES, Iowa — MyPlate, the new food icon from USDA, recommends each meal include all the food groups — dairy, fruit, grain, lean protein and vegetables. One food with the potential to include all the food groups is pizza. But can this well-loved entree that is notoriously high in fat, sodium and carbohydrates fit on MyPlate? Yes it can, with a few modifications, said Sarah Francis, an Iowa State University assistant professor and ISU Extension and Outreach nutrition specialist.
The USDA Farm Service Agency has reported that Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza daily, Francis said. “This amounts to 46 slices for each man, woman and child in the United States each year. We love pizza even though it is one of the top three sources of refined grains, solid fats, saturated fats and sodium. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting our consumption of each of these nutrients because of their potential adverse health effects.”
However, as with all foods, moderation is key to a healthful diet, Francis said. “There are many ways we can make pizza healthier without compromising flavor and enjoyment. So we can have our pizza — and eat it, too.”
Francis offers these tips to have a MyPlate friendly and tasty pizza:
Join the Live Healthy Iowa 100-Day Challenge. This team-based weight loss and physical activity program helps Iowans make positive changes that lead to a healthier lifestyle. The 2012 program began Jan. 23, but there is still time to register at www.LiveHealthyIowa.org. Live Healthy Iowa is a partnership of the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Sports Foundation and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
For more information on nutrition and health or to receive a weekly e-mail from ISU Extension and Outreach including a food, recipe and activity of the week, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/healthnutrition.