Family Meal Makeover: Pizza Night

By Sylvia Geiger, M.S., R.D., "Family Table: “Please Rejuvenate Our Dinners”," August/September 2006

Learn how we cut the fat out of a family favorite.

She was hoping, instead, for a “rejuvenation” of the family menu. “I need some new and fresh meal ideas that fit into our schedule.” Though dedicated and knowledgeable about good nutrition, even Sarah finds creating nightly meals “daunting.” One child finds most meat “disgusting and repulsive,” another “hates broccoli and could live on cheese alone.” The whole family is “reduced to the lowest common denominator, the palate of a 3-year-old.” So putting a healthy meal on the table every night without cooking different foods that cater to each family member’s individual preferences is no easy task.

For years, Sarah has been reworking family favorites to make them more nutritious: she’s been sneaking chard into the spaghetti sauce and has already made the conversion to whole-wheat pasta as well as other whole grains. Yet vegetables remain a challenge, and certain favorite meals, such as pizza, seem impossible to make healthily. Dessert is also an issue: “If the kids know I’m making one, then the whole meal focuses on ‘How many more bites do I have to eat before I can have a brownie?’”

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