At 10 months, Lila was one of those kids that cheerfully munched on pureed green beans and squash. At 15 months, she happily turns up her nose at anything green. Star fruit? Mango? Pomegranate? Orange? Strawberries? No problem. Broccoli. Yeah, right. Trying to entice her to even try it some nights makes both her father and me feel like we’re conducting some sort of new age water board torture.
(Anyone else detecting an early onset of the stubborn ‘twos?’)
While it might be easier to let her scarf down as many french fries (baked of course) as she’d like, a steady diet of potatoes and cheese probably isn’t the best thing.
Enter the shape pizza. Whole wheat pita, tomato sauce with as many veggies as I can stuff in it, cheese and veggie designs on top. Cut into the shape of a pumpkin, butterfly, hear or flower. Perfectly portioned for tot size and lots of wholesome goodness.
Warning: No, I am not Annabel Karmel and my shape food doesn’t look anywhere near as cute. While I think it would be really cool to be able to make my kid’s sausage and polenta into a snail, I can’t imagine how long it takes to cultivate those knife skills – – and quite frankly, I don’t have the time. But that didn’t matter. It’s about the novelty of the shape, not how it would measure up on Top Chef. So, yes, dear reader, you will be able to do this, too!
We had a make-your-own pizza party for some neighborhood friends on Friday night, and the shaped pizza idea scored pretty big with their kids, too. Next to a stack of pita bread, I put a bowl of different cookie cutters and smaller bowls with sauce, cheese, and a variety of veggie/meat pizza toppings. Everyone had a chance to make one (adults too – – although we kept our pita bread whole!) and then I popped them in the oven at 375F for 9-10 minutes. A little fruit, a little salad and buon apetito. (Did I mention this was probably the easiest ‘dinner party’ I’ve ever hosted? Or that I walked in the door 30 minutes before it was supposed to start with all ingredients ‘in hand’ from the grocery store?)
So next time you’re looking to get a little green into your toddler or need a fun activity for your next play date, try whipping up a shape pizza bar. Everyone loves getting in on the cooking action.