Pizza is such a fun and easy food to add to your weekly meal plan. Whether you are ordering out or cooking in, there are so many different ways to customize a pizza to meet your needs. If you are making the pizza at home, have your child help you make the pizza. It is a fun, sensory filled activity that will help them get familiar with the foods before they try them.
Let’s talk crust: To say that the original pizza crust has evolved it an understatement. Different crusts offer different flavors, textures, and nutrition. For a very thick and dense crust you may want to try a deep dish or hand-tossed pizza. This option offers a higher caloric intake and will be more filling. You can even make your own by following recipes on Pinterest! If you are looking for something on the lighter side, you might want to try a thin crust. A lot of restaurants are now offering gluten free, thin crust pizzas for those with dietary restrictions. My personal favorite crust is the “all too trendy” cauliflower crust. This tasty, wheat-free alternative is an EXCELLENT and sneaky way to incorporate some veggies into your pizza! Trader Joe’s has amazing hand-tossed gluten free and cauliflower pizza doughs.
Not the typical sauce: Just like crust, pizza sauce has taken off in a brand-new direction. Allow your child to explore and expand with different flavors of sauce. If your child is used to the typical red sauce on their pizza, you might want to try a bbq sauce pizza. It has the same texture and color, but a very different taste. There are also “white” pizzas that can be closely compared to an Alfredo sauce. I usually recommend this to kids that are not used sauce on their pizza. Lastly, pesto pizza is a very fresh and colorful sauce that can be added to just about any pizza. Switching up the sauce is an easy way to try new flavors!
Now for the TOPPINGS: Cheese, Pepperoni, and Mushrooms, OH MY! I don’t think that there is one food group left out when it comes to pizza toppings. If you are wanting to try a new fruit, meat, or veggie, you might want to try cutting them into very small pieces the 1st couple of times. I also recommend letting your child pick a new topping that they are interested in. If you are making the pizza at home, have your child help you make the pizza. It is a fun, sensory filled activity that will help them get familiar with the foods before they try them. Putting the ingredients on themselves will help them get used to new textures and choosing how much or how little they would like to try.
Here is an easy customizable pizza recipe that you can have kiddos make on their own – with adult supervision, of course! Once it’s ready they won’t even taste the veggies!
Hidden Veggie Pizza
Fresh pizza dough of your choice
Pizza sauce of your choice
Handful of spinach
Handful of mushrooms
Grated cheese of your choice
Toppings of your choice
- Punch dough down, let sit on pizza pan for a few minutes. Then roll out. Let sit again for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Roll out dough on pizza pan. Cook at 425 for about 10 minutes.
- In a high-powered blender, blend together spinach, mushrooms, and spaghetti sauce.
- Spread sauce on the partially baked crust.
- Top with cheese and other desired toppings.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly (for the best results, bake on bottom rack).
Lindsay Mastroeni, SLPA