Pizza for kids prevails as the favorite food, especially among 6- to 14-year-olds. In a recent survey by KidzEyes, an Internet research firm, 56% of them rated it as their top choice – higher than ice cream, mac & cheese, pasta, and chicken combined.
Fortunately, healthy pizza is no longer pie in the sky. Although the majority of take-out and frozen versions pile on calories and saturated fat, the pies we’ve created are some of the bad stuff and pump up nutrients like calcium and vitamin C. Once you’ve tried these versions, you may never see your pizza delivery man again!
Encourage creativity and save yourself time in the kitchen by asking your family members to create a mini pizza in their likeness. While the pizza for kids is in the oven, serve a cup of minestrone and a glass of milk. Finish the meal with a vanilla biscotti or scoop of sorbet. If your kids aren’t wild about hummus, substitute tomato or pesto sauce. No matter which spread you select, check that it’s made with heart-healthy olive or canola oil rather than soybean oil.
- 6 2-oz. whole-wheat pita pockets such as Toufayan or Sahara
- 1 Tbs. olive oil•1 7-oz. pkg. hummus
- 6 thin slices provolone cheese
- 6 Tbs. shredded carrots or red cabbage
- 2 medium mushrooms with stems, thinly sliced top to bottom•6 jumbo ripe olives, sliced in thick circles
- 12 very thin slices red onion
- 1 small red bell pepper, sliced top to bottom
- 12 thin slices of green bell pepper
Preheat oven to 500F.
- Brush one side of every pita with olive oil.
- Spread 2 Tbs. hummus on each one, and lay a slice of cheese on the lower two-thirds.
- Sprinkle carrots or cabbage at the top for hair.
- Place a mushroom slice in the center of the face, stem pointed toward hair, for a nose.
- Set olive and red onion slices on either side of the stem for eyes.
- Use red pepper strips to make a mouth. Then arrange green pepper slices to resemble ears. Or let kids create portraits of their own design.
- Carefully transfer pizzas to cookie sheets. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften and cheese melts.
Each child-size serving (one mini pizza): 273 calories, 12 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat (3 g saturated), 8 g fiber, 10 mg cholesterol, 228 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 583 mg sodium.
Get ready to giggle: Most everything in this pizza for kids – from the tomatoes to the cheese – is backward. Teaching your kids how to make this delicious fiber-rich crust from scratch adds to the fun, but if you’re short on time, a low-fat ready-made crust will work too. Serve the pizza (already rich in B vitamins such as folic acid and in heart-healthy lycopene) with a tossed green salad topped with your child’s favorite dressing and a glass of milk, or another favorite beverage. Enjoy low-fat or fat-free vanilla pudding for dessert.
- 1 1⁄4 cups warm water
- 4 tsp. sugar
- 1 1⁄4-oz. pkg. Rapid Rise yeast
- 1 1⁄2 cups plus 1⁄4 cup white enriched flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour, such as King Arthur, or regular whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried basil•2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. light Caesar dressing
- 4 oz. finely shredded mozzarella
- 1⁄2 lb. thinly sliced chicken breast, grilled and cut into strips
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano
Preheat oven to 500F.
- In a large bowl, combine water, sugar, and yeast. Stir until yeast dissolves.
- Add 1 1⁄2 cups white flour; stir to form a soft dough. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in whole wheat flour, salt, and basil to form a thick dough.
- Place on a floured surface.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, adding the last 1⁄4 cup of white flour in small amounts until dough becomes very elastic and is no longer sticky.
- Cover with a clean towel, and let stand for 10 minutes. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to shape the dough into an 18″ circle. Brush one side with olive oil.
- Place oil-side-down in a 15″ pizza pan. Fold over the excess dough to form side crust.
- Brush the Caesar dressing over dough, then cover with the cheese. Arrange the chicken strips over cheese. Place the tomatoes, cut-side-down, over the entire pie. Sprinkle with the oregano
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes until tomatoes begin to soften. Remove from oven, and let stand 5 minutes. Cut into six pieces and serve.
Each child-size serving (one slice): 381 calories, 23 g protein, 51 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (4 g saturated), 5 g fiber, 43 mg cholesterol, 154 mg calcium, 4 mg iron, 632 mg sodium.
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Super Cheesy Pizza
This all-white creation kicks in more than 80% of the calcium that children ages 4 to 8 need for the entire day! And it’s not just the cheese that delivers the mineral: Surprisingly, each English muffin offers 100 mg of calcium. The pizza is packed with iron too. For a balanced dinner, pair the pie with a tossed green salad, a glass of water, and unsweetened applesauce sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg and garnished with a juicy fresh apple slice.
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 cups diced fresh white mushrooms
- 6 jumbo English muffins such as Thomas’s
- 6 Tbs. fat-free cream cheese
- 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 oz. (3 cups) part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a medium pan, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil until soft.
- Split English muffins and arrange on ungreased cookie sheets. Spread 1 Tbs. cream cheese on each muffin half. Top with mushrooms, Parmesan, and mozzarella, equally divided among muffins.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.
Each child-size serving (2 muffin halves): 402 calories, 30 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat (6 g saturated), 2 g fiber, 31 mg cholesterol, 641 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 582 mg sodium.
What are your favorite recipes of pizza for kids? Share your ideas with us!