Here's a challenge - create a healthy pizza lunch

DPeart's picture
Posted by DPeart on 2011-01-25 14:10

Domino’s Pizza stateside recently launched the Domino’s Smart Slice program. Catering to schools, the objective is to provide a healthy alternative to traditional fare.  This program allows kids to keep their beloved pizza day while meeting the new nutrition guidelines that many school boards have adopted in an effort to provide better nutrition and combat childhood obesity.
The Smart Slice pizza is made with white whole wheat, which will increase fibre, and is lower in fat and sodium—two nutrients that tend to be high in pizza, and which, particularly in the case of sodium, most children get far more of than they need.  The hope is that these fresh baked pizzas will not only be better nutritionally but also tastier than the frozen varieties many schools have used in the past.
Pizza Day has become a mainstay of ‘special lunch’ days and a welcome change from routine for many school children. While the Smart Slice pizzas do not meet Health Check criteria, improving the nutrient profile of their pizzas is certainly a step in the right direction.
It would be great to see this or any other enterprising pizza maker in Canada rise to the challenge of creating pizzas for schools that do meet Health Check criteria—with things like whole wheat crust, more veggies, less processed meat and less sodium, in a tasty product that kids will love. 
Let’s hope they take up the challenge! 

Comments 6

In Canada, whole wheat flour usually comes from red wheat which produces a dark, slightly bitter tasting flour. White whole wheat is actually made from a less common albino or 'white' variety of wheat that produces a lighter coloured, slightly sweet tasting flour with a texture closer to that of refined wheat. These two types of wheat are similar nutritionally, particularly in terms of fibre and nutrients, so white whole wheat can be a good option for people who do not like the taste or texture of traditional whole wheat.    

white whole wheat - what's that? what's wrong with real whole wheat crust - doesn't sound all that healthy to me!

Picking up on Dawne's comment, I think it is great that you are making pizza at home using fresh ingredients, whole wheat and lots of veggies! Often pizza is very high in fat and sodium but it doesn't have to be! Using lots of spices is a great way to add flavour without the salt. And I love the fact that you are involving your family in the process--this way they learn that nutritious food is fun to make and to eat!

Thanks to both of you for your comments. The Heart and Stroke Foundation always encourages Canadians to cook from scratch as often as they can. We provide guidance and resources including many healthy recipes to support them to do this. But we also need to  be realistic. We know that people eat out often and buy many prepared foods. We also know that many schools organize “pizza day” lunches and that current provincial school nutrition guidelines include criteria for pizzas. Rather than pretend it is not happening, we want to ensure that the choices available include healthier options. So our challenge to pizza makers remains  - create a healthy pizza lunch for our kids!

I strongly disagree with your opinion, Ms. Peart. Dr. Freedhoff, founder of the Ottawa Bariatric Medical Institute, says it best with this counter-argument.

I think this challenge is a great idea. In our home we make pizza by starting with whole wheat dough, then adding all kinds of veggies, if we add meat it is low fat sliced meat or white meat chicken. To spice it up we use different cheeses alone or together and by adding different spices such as fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, onion or whatever is in the fridge.

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