Super pancakes

Monday, March 01, 2010

We eat a lot of pancakes in our house. Mostly because my kids love them but also because they are pretty portable and it is easy to sneak in some healthy ingredients. I make my pancakes from scratch rather than using a mix, so it is easy for me to tweak the ingredients list. I am not 100% on-board with the "sneaky mama" approach to getting kids to eat healthy things as I believe that we should feed them how we want them to feed themselves later in life. If they know what they are eating, it will be easier for them to choose to eat that again. I do, however, like the fact that I can make a few changes to things to get more nutrition onto my kids' plates while they are young and growing.

Here is my basic pancake recipe plus a few ideas for upping the nutritional value.

Basic Pancake Recipe:
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 tbsp oil (your choice, try: canola, olive, coconut, melted margarine)
~1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp real maple syrup (optional but I like to add this because my kids don't use syrup and this makes the pancakes just a bit sweeter)

1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (sift them if you wish).

2. Whisk together the wet ingredients then gently stir them into the dry. Don't over-mix or your pancakes will be like rubber!

My kids don't like pancakes with "chunks" of any kind (even fruit). So, instead of whisking the wet ingredients together, I put them in the blender. That way I can add things to the batter without adding any lumps or bumps.

For protein and iron:

  • Add nut butter (e.g. peanut or almond butter), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and/or hemp seeds to the wet ingredients and blend well.
  • Substitute soy flour for up to 1/3 cup flour.
  • Substitute a serving of protein powder for an equal amount of the flour.
  • Substitute ground flaxseeds (flax meal) and/or wheat germ for up to 1/3 cup flour.
  • Add blackstrap molasses for iron.

Adding fruits and veggies:

  • Add carrots, apples, bananas, berries, squash, applesauce, sweet potatoes, or other fruits and/or veggies to the wet ingredients and blend well. Bananas (especially really ripe bananas) work really well for this!

Anybody have any other sneaky pancake tricks?

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