If you ask someone (and especially a kid) what their favorite food is, there’s a good chance they’ll say pizza.
Simple, convenient and delicious, pizza is well deserving of its title as one of the most popular foods in the world, and if you’re like most people you probably consume this food at least once a month.
With such universal popularity, you are probably eager to find out what your little one makes of this tasty treat food!
So let’s take a look at when you can start giving your baby pizza, whether or not it poses a choking hazard, what the best types are for a young child, and more.
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When Can My Baby Eat Pizza?
The good news for all you pizza lovers out there is that the general consensus is that most babies can eat pizza from around the age of one onwards.
Pizza has a firmer texture compared to many other foods, so your baby will need to have developed their chewing and swallowing skills to some degree before they can tuck in to a margarita.
All babies develop at different rates, but generally it’s wise to wait until your child is at least 12 months, and perhaps even 15 months, before offering them some pizza.
Is Pizza Safe For Babies?
Yes, pizza is typically safe for a baby to eat, not withstanding any allergies like wheat and dairy.
It’s important to offer it to your child in the most age-appropriate way, and to be aware of which toppings to go for and which are best avoided.
Pizza is typically not a choking hazard for babies, provided you don’t give your child the crust, only give them small pieces and avoid toppings that are stringy, firm or generally hard to eat.
And as with any food, your baby should never be left unattended while they eat pizza.
Does Pizza Contain Allergens?
It’s interesting to note that around 90% of food allergies are caused by only eight foods: Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Tree nuts, Peanuts, Fish and Shellfish.
Most pizza contains wheat (in the dough) and milk (in the cheese), so these are the two most obvious allergens to be aware of.
However, depending on the toppings you should look out for eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts (pesto), soy and sesame.
If you’re planning on sharing your store-bought pizza with your little one or ordering in a restaurant, it’s a good idea to check with the venue or look on the back of pack to examine exactly what’s in the pizza.
Most restaurants (and particularly large chains like Dominos) take allergens very seriously, and have a breakdown of exactly what’s inside their dishes if you ask.
What Is The Best Type Of Pizza For A Baby or Toddler?
So your baby is at least 12 months old, allergens are not a problem or can be safely navigated, and you’re confident they can chew and swallow small pieces of crust-less pizza.
Great, you can now give them their first ever taste of pizza!
But what type of pizza is best of a baby or a child?
Every child has different tastes, but a good rule of thumb is to start out with something simple, like a cheese and tomato (margarita).
When it comes to the crust or base, whole-grain is a generally a healthier option thanks to its higher fiber and protein content.
Toppings-wise, not all cheeses are created equal, so it’s worth noting that burrata, mozzarella, ricotta and goat’s cheese have a lot less salt (sodium) than parmesan.
This is important, because experts recommend babies do not eat much salt as their developing kidneys are not able to process it very well.
For this reason, babies under one should have less than 1g of salt (0.4g sodium) a day, and between the ages of one to three, children should not consume more than 2g salt (0.8g sodium) per day.
With around 650 milligrams of sodium per slice, and once you take into account everything else your child eats in a day, it’s not hard to see how children can quickly surpass their daily sodium allowance with just a little bit of pizza, especially once we factor in toppings.
Ham, pepperoni and sausage tend to be very salty (and often difficult to chew), so when making or ordering a pizza for kids, it’s better to go for toppings like peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach and perhaps some plain chicken or salmon.
Your little one is unlikely to kick up a fuss at not having processed meat, and it can be a great way to sneak some wholesome veggies into their diet!
Tips When Giving Pizza To Your Child
- Homemade pizza can be a great place to start, because you can control all the ingredients that go onto your baby or toddler’s plate.
- Opt for a whole grain base if possible, and use cheeses made of whole milk rather than low-fat versions.
- Instead of adding processed meats like ham or pepperoni, add plenty of fresh vegetables or plain, unprocessed meat.
- Another great tactic is to let your kid decide what they want to put on their pizza, especially if you present them with a range of healthy options to select from.
- Cut up a slice into small pieces to make it easier to eat, and keep an eye out for (relatively) large pieces of stringy cheese, as these will probably be too chewy for a baby to eat.
- The crust will also typically be too hard for a baby to eat, so stick to the soft middle bits.
- Finally, remember that kids are used to simple tasting foods thanks to the low salt content, so the ultimate test of whether a pizza or the toppings are “healthy” for a baby is whether or not it tastes bland to you – the more bland it tastes, the healthier it’s likely to be!
Must Read: Your Must Have Baby & Toddler Feeding Guide