Mini-Pizzas: Fun For the Family!

The following is a blog from NCSU student Holly Starks. It is the second (click here to read the first week's recap) in a series of 5 Blogs she will be writing chronicling her experience as a Nutrition Instructor for a OFL Class she is Teaching. Holly is teaching OFL as part of a Service Learning Class that has teamed up North Carolina State Students with the Inter Faith Food Shuttle’s  OFL/Nutrition Program.  Through this partnership the IFFS and NCSU hope to engage students in service learning and community nutrition while expanding the reach of its OFL program.

This week at the Crosby Head Start Center, the OFL Side by Side class learned about making fun and healthy mini-pizzas. Mini-pizzas are a great way to get the kids involved by giving them opportunity to create their own individualized pizzas by being able to choose from a variety of toppings like peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, broccoli, or even pineapple. The mini-pizza recipe is also healthy, easy, and budget friendly for the parents. A healthy balanced meal is achieved through the incorporation of cheese, whole grains, lean meats, and variety of fruits or vegetables. The ingredients in the meal can be used for multiple dishes throughout the week and are also relatively inexpensive. When vegetables are not in season, choosing canned or frozen veggies can also help save money.

The entire class had fun together this week while making the mini-pizzas. The kids enjoyed watching their parents cut up the veggies while also getting to take turns grating the cheese. While the parents cooked the vegetables on the stove in the kitchen, the kids helped put the sauce onto the English muffins. Together, the participants put the toppings on the pizza while some chose to just add the sautéed veggies and others included an extra topping of canned corn. After the mini-pizzas came out of the oven, loaded with veggies, the participants delved in to trying their new creations. Even though some of the kids didn’t like the vegetables in their taste test activity earlier in the lesson, they enjoyed eating the cooked vegetables on the pizza. Sometimes preparing foods differently can help kids enjoy eating their fruits and vegetables.

During our mealtime together, there were many expressions of excitement as everyone came to a consensus that the pizzas were yummy and delicious. The parents were encouraged to make the pizzas at home this week with their kids, and we encourage you to do the same! Personalize your pizza and let the kids enjoy putting on the toppings, and always remember to include variety in your vegetable choices, choose lean meats like turkey or chicken, and try whole grain or whole wheat English muffins. Click here to for the Operation Frontline Mini Pizza Recipe!