I don’t know what it is about pizza, but I’ve never met a kid that didn’t like it – or love it, really. When my kids were small, I started a weekly homemade pizza night tradition in our house (because we were too broke to order pizza, much less pay to have it delivered).
As we became more financially stable, the tradition continued because, well, it’s a tradition! My kids came to expect it as part of their weekly routine, and I loved that for at least one night a week, I didn’t have to think about what to make for dinner.
Just one problem: pizza’s not exactly the healthiest thing on the planet, at least not my family’s go-to pepperoni and cheese. But there are easy ways to make it healthier … but not so healthy that they’ll refuse to eat it. Here are a few kid-friendly healthy pizza topping ideas to get you started.
Switch the Sauce
Why limit yourself to tomato sauce? Switch your base to something fresh and new like pesto, béchamel, salsa, barbecue sauce or a balsamic glaze. Not to say tomato sauce isn’t delicious! It’s classic, the kids love it, and its big tomato flavor is the perfect disguise. Sneak some pureed veggies into the sauce to give your pizza a healthy boost.
Take the Kids to Market
Take the kids grocery shopping with you and pick out fresh fruits and veggies together, letting them think up their own unique topping combos. If you’re at the farmer’s market, encourage them to ask the sellers for their favorite pizza topping ideas. Or make your own Hawaiian pizza with fresh pineapple and ham, or a green machine pizza with pesto, asparagus, peas or whatever green veggies you can get your kids to eat. The combinations are endless.
Toss Things Up
Bake your pizza with a layer of cheese and parmesan and while it cooks, toss together a Caesar or Italian-style salad with a light dressing, spinach with balsamic dressing, or arugula with Parmesan shavings and a squeeze of lemon. When you pull the pizza out of the oven, slice it up and top generously with salad for another fun way to mix in those veggies.
Use Those Leftovers
It’s pretty amazing what kids will eat on a pizza … including the broccoli they refused to eat last night. Put leftover veggies on a pizza and they just can’t help themselves. You could also try a BBQ chicken pizza with leftover rotisserie chicken, barbecue sauce, corn and part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, or turn leftover ground beef into a taco or cheeseburger pizza, with plenty of lettuce and tomato.
Kids will eat pizza just about any way you slice it, and with these ideas for making healthier pizza, you can feel good about serving it to them too.