Cooking with kids: Mini pizzas for lunch or snack

Use meal and snack time to enjoy food and teach kids about healthy eating.

Stuck indoors again with this long, cold, snowy winter? Looking for new ideas on what to feed your kids for lunch or as a snack? Or are you simply in need of a new activity to do together with your children? Kids love to be in the kitchen, whether it is helping to cook or enjoying meals, kids want to be where the action is. When it is time to prepare lunch, dinner or snacks, Michigan State University Extension recommends you involve your children as much as possible in the planning and preparing of meals. This involvement of your children will result in them being more likely to try the foods if they helped in the preparation. Kids of all ages can participate in food preparation jobs.

Pizza is a great, versatile recipe idea for you and your children to prepare for lunch, dinner or even as a snack. Make a mini pizza and be creative with the crust and toppings. Try using half of a whole wheat English muffin, whole grain bagel, a tortilla shell or even a portabella mushroom for the crust. Allow them to top the “crust” with tomato sauce. Then let your child choose from a variety of veggies, or even some fruit, and top with low-fat mozzarella cheese; sprinkling the items on the crust. Last, broil the pizza and cool before serving. Use the pizza creating process to discuss MyPlate and the various food groups.

Enjoy this recipe found on the MyPlate website, courtesy of the Produce for Better Health Foundation.

Herb Garden Pizza

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons salt-free tomato basil garlic seasoning blend

2 tablespoons olive oil

1, 12 inch, whole-wheat pizza crust, thin, pre-baked or use any crust varieties

Cooking spray

4 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced

11/2 cups mushrooms, sliced

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

3/4 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, mix tomato basil garlic seasoning blend with olive oil. Place pizza crust on pizza pan. Brush pizza dough with olive oil blend, reserve remainder.

In a large mixing bowl, gently toss vegetables and remaining olive oil blend. Spread coated vegetables evenly over pizza dough, leaving about a half-inch border around the edges. Top vegetables with shredded cheese. Bake 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Cool and enjoy!

Using whole grain items for the crust and adding vegetables and low-fat cheese serves your kids three food groups, as well as provides whole grain and fiber into their meal. Cooking with kids is a great way to teach the basics of healthy eating and good nutrition, and it is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your children.

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