Introducing a new healthy eating campaign with a very hungry caterpillar made of fun pizza buns bursting at the seams with nutritious veggies and cheese.
1 batch of whole wheat pizza dough
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, diced
4 white mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup ham or sausage, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
3/4 cup pizza sauce
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp cornmeal
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, ham, basil, oregano, salt and pepper until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and drain off any excess liquid. Stir in pizza sauce and ricotta cheese.
Preheat oven to 450F and grease a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Grab a handful of pizza dough and flatten it in your palm. Place a spoonful of vegetable filling into the centre of the dough and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Gather the ends of the dough together and pinch them closed, then mold it into a round shaped bun. Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remainder of the ingredients, forming a caterpillar shape with the buns. Place a piece of pepper for the eye and spinach for the mouth on the head of the caterpillar. Bake for 12 minutes.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Academy of Pediatrics are featuring the best-selling children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle in their new campaign to promote healthy eating habits called Eating Healthy. Growing Strong.
My kids love this book, and it’s a great way to start a dialogue with your children about healthy eating. Encourage your children to name the different fruits the caterpillar eats to help them become familiar with nutritious foods. It’s also important not to overeat, as we learn from the caterpillar when he gets a stomach ache from eating too much. My poor pizza bun caterpillar had a similar problem; he was so full that he couldn’t keep it all in. The filling burst out in some places, which was not a pretty sight. I think maybe I need to work on my dough-sealing skills. It may not have looked perfect but it still tasted good. Bennett couldn’t stuff it in his mouth fast enough. Oh Bennett, have you learned nothing from the caterpillar? At least it was a healthy meal with a good variety of vegetables and a whole wheat crust. Cole didn’t like it but he did try a few bites, then ran away crying into the bathroom. That’s not quite the reaction I had hoped for. When he came back I asked him what was wrong and he said it was spicy, but there’s nothing really spicy in this. The only thing I could think of was that he bit down on a piece of ground pepper. In any case he wouldn’t eat any more of it after that. I found the cat eating up what Cole had left on his plate so at least it didn`t go to waste. That cat is terrible for sneaking food off the table. On the plus side he never complains about my cooking.
For more information about the Eating Healthy Growing Strong campaign, visit the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (www.healthiergeneration.org/veryhungrycaterpillar) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.healthychildren.org/veryhungrycaterpillar). These sites have resources including a printable growth chart, a reading guide, and tips for healthy eating.