These pancakes have been a staple in our house for a few years. It’s about time I shared them here on the blog!
First of all, I really dig the nutrient-density of this meal. It’s loaded with protein, healthy fats and vegetables.
But my kids (and husband) simply like eating chocolate pancakes. So do I. It’s a win-win so I make them about once a week for either breakfast or dinner.
I feel like we need to talk about this whole idea of hiding vegetables. I’ve been doing it a lot lately. It solves the problem of getting some veggies into my boys’ bellies. That’s the short-term game. However, it does nothing to encourage a healthy relationship with food. And that’s the long-term, much more important game.
I’m not saying moms are bad for hiding veggies. It’s a legit strategy. I’m just saying that we also have to think of the big picture. How can kids develop a healthy relationship with vegetables if they never see or knowingly eat them?
So while we blend spinach into these (seriously delicious, you gotta try ’em) pancakes…let’s also resolve to let our kids experience food in its whole form.
Take them shopping. My 4 year old is increasingly picky about his meals but each week I bring him to the store and ask him to help me find the broccoli, the celery, the fennel. We laugh about how dill is like mint, but hairier! If he sees something he wants to try (it was star fruit the other week) I buy it for him. This is how he learns.
Let them look and touch. This can happen at the store but it also happens at home. My 1 year old likes to pull everything out of the bags. An onion? He puts it to his lips and makes a face. A red bell pepper? He swats it across the floor. I let him play as I put the food away.
Get them involved with food prep. My big guy helps me push the button on the food processor. He knows there is spinach in these pancakes because he has helped make them! He can even crack an egg. My little guy can nibble odds and ends while he watches the dinner-making extravaganza. I put him in his highchair so he gets a good view of the food prep area. As they get older, I’ll have them do more. The important thing is that they get comfortable in the kitchen.
Eat your own veggies. Children learn by watching. Forget what they put in their mouth for a second and think about what you are putting in yours. Make sure your kids regularly witness you enjoying colorful, healthy meals.
Put veggies on their plate, every time. Yep, I know, it’s all going to end up on the floor or in the trash. But now and then, they will surprise you. Even if you’ve hidden kale in the meatballs, serve raw carrots on the side. With these pancakes? My son actually asked for more spinach, cooked in coconut oil. The baby got peas.
Keep it fresh. Kids’ brains are wired to seek out new information. Serve the same steamed broccoli every week? Try serving it raw instead. Or made into broccoli nuggets. Or spiralize the stalks into noodles with this handy tool. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just try to keep the information (and veggies!) fresh.
- ¾ cup creamy natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)
- 6 eggs
- 2 average-sized bananas, chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach, packed
- 3 Tbl. cacao or cocoa powder
- Fresh fruit, maple syrup or your choice of pancake toppings.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. (Or combine in a bowl and use an immersion blender.)
- Using ¼-1/3 cup of batter at a time, pour pancakes onto a hot griddle. Watch for bubbles to begin to form, then carefully flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.