Looking for healthy pizza toppings your kids will love? In this post and video, you'll find lots of ideas for turning pizza night into eat-your-veggies night!
When you think about nutritious mealtime options, pizza might not be first thing that comes to mind. However, if you make it yourself, this fan favorite is a great way to get lots of veggies and other healthy foods into your kids' bellies. Here are my favorite kid-approved pizza toppings, plus some handy tricks for sneaking more nutrients into a meal your family will happily devour.
Top 10 Healthy Pizza Toppings for Kids
- Vegetable-based sauce, such as Super-Simple Marinara, beet or pumpkin puree, Spinach-Ricotta-Cream Sauce (see recipe below), or pesto
- Tasty, good-melting cheese, such as fresh mozzarella, low-moisture mozzarella, burrata, cheddar, gruyère, Monterey jack, and brie (to prevent one person from hoarding all the cheese on their pizza, shred or chop the cheese ahead of time and divide it into separate ramekins; you'll need 4 to 6 ounces of cheese for four personal-size pizzas)
- A rainbow of thinly sliced/finely chopped raw vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, multicolored bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, scallions, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, etc. (Choose something red, something green, and something yellow/tan. Bonus points if you can find something purple, too! The farmers' market is a great place to find unusually vibrant veggies.)
- Shredded root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, beets, or sweet potatoes (more on this below)
- Very thinly sliced cooking greens, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, or collard greens
- Sliced or chopped preserved veggies, such as roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, or marinated mushrooms
- Raw tender greens, such as spinach, microgreens, chopped fresh herbs, or arugula (added either before or after baking)
- Sliced avocado (added either before or after baking)
- Protein! If you are a family of meat eaters, try chopped cooked chicken, turkey, steak, ham, or bacon (to keep it from drying out or burning in the oven, layer meats between the sauce and other toppings.) Or, if your kids are egg lovers, crack an egg or two on each individual pizza and bake according to these instructions. Other great protein options include cubed tofu, canned beans, and chopped nuts or seeds sprinkled on after baking.
- Cured meats like Genoa salami, prosciutto, pancetta, and, of course, pepperoni (These might not seem like healthy pizza toppings, but they do contain protein, and you can use them as "blankets" to hide healthy toppings like shredded carrots or thinly sliced Brussels sprouts. Your kids will taste the salty pepperoni; you will watch them eat their veggies.)
Sneaky Ways to Add More Veggies
If you have a picky eater in your family, try one or more of these ideas to sneak some healthy foods into each bite.
Involve kids in the process.
Anyone, no matter their age, is more likely to enjoy something they had a part in creating. Especially when it comes to food. Get your kids involved in measuring ingredients and making and rolling or stretching out the dough, whisking together the sauce, choosing and prepping the toppings and cheeses, setting the table, and mixing up salads to round out the meal. As you can see in the video above, my four-year-old son is more than able to top his own pizzas and even press out his dough.
If your family likes some . . . ahem . . . healthy competition, have everyone make their own personal pizza, then vote on whose pizza was the most unique, whose was the tastiest, and whose was the most attractive. (This will encourage kids to try toppings they might not otherwise be drawn to.)
Shred it up.
Harder vegetables like carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes might not seem like obvious pizza topping options. But shred them on a box grater or in your food processor, and they cook to tender perfection on any pizza. Even better—if you sprinkle grated veggies over marinara sauce and top them with cheese and other toppings, they basically melt into the sauce while the pizza cooks. No one will know those little veggie bits are in there. Shhhhh. It's your healthy little secret.
Include at least one favorite food.
You'll notice that salami and bacon both appear in my list of healthy pizza toppings for kids. That's because these are favorites of most meat-eating kids, and they can therefore be used to cover up other nutritious toppings. (I especially love Genoa salami for pizza night because it's big enough to conceal healthier veggies; lay a slice over a mound of tiny broccoli florets or shredded carrots, and your kid will be none the wiser.)
I always include sliced olives in our family pizza-making spreads, too, because my son, Jack, will eat almost anything that has olives on it.
Really, any favorite savory food will serve the same purpose. If your kiddo knows one of their favorite flavors is on that heathy pizza, they'll be less reluctant to take a bite.
Start with Easy Spinach-Ricotta-Cream Sauce
This sauce is like a green smoothie for pizza. Slather it on the dough, then let your kids pile on whatever toppings they like. No matter what other ingredients they choose, you'll know they're getting green veggies with every bite.
makes about 1 cup
- In a blender or food processor, combine ½ cup ricotta cheese, ½ cup heavy cream or half-and-half, and a handful of baby spinach.
- Blend until smooth, thin it out with a little more cream if desired, then give it a taste and season with salt and pepper.
Looking for more healthy pizza toppings for kids? Here are a few other posts to check out:
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