Two of the main reasons why the childhood obesity rates in this country are soaring is the easy accessibility to high-fat, high-sugar convenience food and lack of exercise. Gone are the days of little kids playing outside for hours after school until mom calls for dinner. With the exception of a weekly after-school activity like soccer or dance, most kids go from sitting all day in school to sitting in front of their computers or televisions.
So when it’s time to celebrate your child’s birthday, Chuck E Cheese fares pretty well when it comes to promoting activity. Their games and attractions get kids moving, running around and best of all having fun. But when it comes to their pizza, you can make some wise options or some not-so-wise options.
While pizza has been coined a healthy kind of “junk food,” it can also be a huge nutritional disaster if you order extra cheese, opt for deep dish and double up on high-fat meats.
You can’t go wrong with a slice or two of Chuck E Cheese’s small pie with plain cheese or even pepperoni. One slice of cheese from a small pizza has 155 calories and a slice of pepperoni from a medium-sized pie creeps the calories up a bit further to 263. But the larger your pizza gets, the more calories and fat you’re adding. One slice of a large pizza with pepperoni has almost 300 calories and 10 grams of fat. Add a glass of fruit punch and a slice of birthday cake and that packs on an additional 400 calories. While a 700 calorie meal might be reasonable for a grown adult, for a child, it’s a bit weighty.
Your best bet is to limit pizza toppings to veggies and order a few small or medium pizzas rather than the large ones. Slices are obviously less generous in size with the smaller pies which equates to less calories. Swapping out juices or sodas for water is also an easy save on sugar.
Like most restaurants, Chuck E Cheese has posted their nutritional information on their website. Scope it out before you head out the door and plan ahead what kinds of pizza you want to order and which ones to stay away from.