Convincing kids to choose carrot sticks instead of Cheetos or to eat a sandwich on whole wheat instead of white bread can be an uphill battle. However, when kids have a hand in creating a healthy meal, they're likely to be less picky about what goes into their mouths. "Getting kids to help plan their meals is good because they will eat it," says Michelle Benoit, a dietitian at Terrebonne General Medical Center. "And then they are open to try more things."
Most children can't resist a slice of pizza, and it's a good choice for a cooking project for picky eaters because the topping options allow them to customize it to their taste buds. This recipe for wheat bread pepperoni pizza provides vitamins, fiber, calcium and minerals that support proper development. Turkey pepperoni is a high-protein, lower-fat alternative to regular pepperoni, and a tomato and pumpkin sauce packs in servings of vitamins A, C, E and calcium and potassium. Tomato sauce can have a lot of salt and sugar, so for a lighter take, go with no-salt-added tomato sauce.
Wheat Bread Pepperoni Pizza
Recipe by Jackie Marsh, Executive Chef at Terrebonne General Medical Center.
1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni (1/2 cup)
Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat oven to 450. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to the size of the baking sheet, then transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisp on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.Whisk pumpkin puree, tomato sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl until combined. Spread sauce evenly over the baked crust. Top with mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni. Bake until the crust is crispy on the edges and the cheeses have melted, about 12 minutes.