In a new study, the researchers found that pizza is a large source of calories, saturated fat and salt in kids' diets.
Kids should not eat more than one or two slices of pizza for a meal, and should pair that with salad, rather than with another high-calorie food, the researchers concluded.
Pizza has become a matter of focus in recent years for researchers who look at the meals children eat, rather than the individual nutrients within them. Studies have found children eat pizza more frequently than adults, and that along with desserts such as cakes and cookies, pizza is one of the foods that are the greatest sources of calories for children. Children consume an average of 136 calories per day from pizza, the new study found. [10 Ways to Promote Kids'Healthy Eating Habits]
For the new study, Powel and her colleagues looked at questionnaires about the diets of children and teens ages 2 to 19, that were completed every two years between 2003 and 2010.
The researchers found that the number of calories children consumed from pizza decreased 25 percent between 2003 and 2010, which is good news, they said. But the food remains a common part of children's diets: On any given day, about 20 percent of children and teens eat pizza.
What's more, on the days when children eat pizza, they end up consuming more saturated fat, more salt, and more calories overall. On such days, teens consume an average of 230 extra calories, and younger children consume an average of 84 extra calories, compared with the days on which kids don't eat pizza.
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