- PreK through High School
- PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)
- 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
- 6-8 yrs (primary)
- 9-11 yrs (elementary)
- 11-14 yrs (middle school)
- 14-18 yrs (high school)
June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables month — a time to think about how you incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes dietary guidelines which describe the importance of a well-balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. Including fruits and vegetables in your meals and/or as snacks is one key part of a healthy diet. Healthy eating habits should be encouraged with children throughout their lives. However, getting children to enjoy vegetables, in particular, can sometimes be a challenge. How about turning it into an edible art project that you can enjoy together as a family?
Activity Description: Gather assorted vegetables to use as a decorative topping for a flatbread pizza. Arrange the vegetables in fun and interesting patterns on pizza dough that is cooked and enjoyed.
What tools and materials do I need?
- Assorted colorful vegetables cut into slices or small pieces (tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, spinach, red or green peppers, etc.)
- Pizza dough (store-bought roll from refrigerated section or homemade)
- Mozzarella or other pizza cheese (shredded)
- Cookie sheet or pizza pan (lightly oiled)
- Rolling pin and a little flour (may be needed to roll out the dough; otherwise just use fingers or a glass rolled in flour)
- Pizza sauce (store-bought jar or homemade) [optional]
- Fresh basil [optional]
What should I do?
- Prepare the dough. Roll and cut the pizza dough into one large pizza or a few single serve sizes depending on how many children are involved and the size of your pans. You might find it helpful to use a rolling pin and a little flour on the counter to roll out the dough. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use your fingers. Another option is to roll a glass in some flour and use that in place of a rolling pin.
- Arrange the vegetables. Have the children arrange the vegetables on the dough in any patterns of their choosing. Encourage them to incorporate a variety of vegetables in order to create unique designs on their flatbreads. Tell them to fill their art space (dough) as much as possible. Use this decorating time to engage your child in a conversation about the importance of incorporating many different colored vegetables into a healthy diet.
- Precook the vegetables and crust. Cook the flatbread(s) according to dough instructions. The sample flatbreads illustrated on this post were made with Pillsbury® pizza dough, cooked at 400O for about 6-8 minutes.
- Add cheese. Remove the partially cooked flatbread(s) from the oven and have your child carefully arrange a small amount of cheese on the flatbread so as to not cover up the design. Use a minimal amount of cheese. About ¼ cup of cheese was used on the flatbreads pictured (each flatbread used ½ of the Pillsbury® dough). Cook the flatbread for another 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese and get a nicely browned crust.
- Cut and serve the flatbread. Cut the cooked flatbread into small pieces. Top with some chopped fresh basil, if you have it. If desired, heat up some pizza sauce to use as a dipping sauce.
- Other considerations. Consider some of these options as you plan and conduct this activity with your children.
- Serve the flatbread as part of a meal that includes fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, mangos, pineapples, melon, etc. Cutting these in small pieces and having your child eat them with a toothpick instead of a fork makes it more fun.
- Share the Healthy Eating Plate with your child and reinforce this balance when preparing and serving your meals. Learn more at the USDA’s My Plate website. You’ll find some great suggestions at that site in celebration of the 2021 10-year anniversary of the MyPlate concept graphic that serves as a guide to healthy eating from each of the five food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Take a quiz, download an app, create a healthy food plan, or learn how to post about your experience on social media at this site.
- Learn some great strategies about promoting healthy eating with your children through the My Plate, My Wins: Real Solutions from Real Families video (3:27 minutes) published by the USDA.
- Fine motor skills
- Health and wellness
- Parent-led activity
Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 06/24/2021