Generation SnaX

Sometimes I think our kids should be called "generation snacks". It's not their fault. We bring snacks to the playground, send them to school with snacks and offer up even more when they return home. Snack foods are just so convenient these days that it's easier to reach for the nearest bag, rather than making a whiny kid wait it out 'til the next meal.

That's not such a huge problem if we're offering them fruits, veggies and whole grains between meals-then it's more like grazing, right? The problem stems from the fact that most of us are more lenient with nutritional value when it comes to snack foods.

So now that we've trained our kids to think that the next meal is just around the corner, it's time we made that meal count. That means stocking up the pantry with foods with a little oomph. Think protein from nuts, monounsaturated fats from California Ripe Olives, vitamins and minerals from apples, oranges and baby carrots.

Here's a recipe that takes an all time favorite and gives it a little twist. Hidden beneath layers of cheese, tomato sauce and California Ripe Olives, the kids will never notice the whole grain crust. Cook half the recipe now and freeze the rest, believe me, they'll be clamoring for more soon enough!

Pizza Twirls

  • 1 (1 lb.) prepared whole grain pizza dough
  • 3/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 cups Italian cheese mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped California Ripe Olives

Roll pizza dough into a 12-inch by 15-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spoon pizza sauce in a thin layer over the top. Sprinkle with cheese and California Ripe Olives. Roll widthwise into a long tube shape.* Slice roll crosswise into 1-inch discs and place each onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a 425-degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. Make 10-12 snack sized servings.

* For easier slicing you may place roll into the freezer for 15 minutes until dough stiffens slightly.