Our son is currently 16 months old and unbelievably adorable. He’s huge too. Like in the 98% for height, weight, and head circumference. He has the name and the build to be a future right defenseman for the
Colorado Avalanche Boston Bruins. He may also grow up to be a tuba player in a marching band. Really, whatever makes him happy because he’s such a happy little buddy and I’d like him to stay that way.
Things that are currently making him happy? Peppa Pig, Elmo, toy cars, real cars, books about cars, pictures of cars, songs about buses (and cars), as well as carbohydrates and cheese. Know what doesn’t make him happy? Fruit. Our son hates fruit.
Our son will not eat raw fruit. Under no circumstances will he put a pear past his lips or an apple slice on his tongue. It’s embarrassing really. His big sister has always been a fan of fruit so I’m not quite sure where we went wrong. I’m also not sure if this is indicative of future complications like not going to Harvard or not becoming a right defenseman.
One positive is that he does like those fruit and veggie pouches. This fact always earns us a stern lecture from his pediatrician on how they “are not as beneficial as whole fruit” and “they are crack” which makes me wonder how much our son’s pediatrician knows about crack. Also, my sister likes to scare us with stories of unseen mold in fruit pouches and third eyeballs. Despite this, those pouches are the only one of two ways we know our son is getting any kind of fruit or vegetable in him at all.
The other way we make sure he is getting proper nutrition is sneaking fruits and veggies in foods he will eat. Foods like pancakes. He loves pancakes. Fruit hides beautifully in pancakes. Say pancake one more time? Sure. Pancake.
I make these specific pancakes almost every week for the kids. They love them. I love them. My hubby loves them. I tell you they are so soo sooo good.
I’d also love to tell you they are made from gluten-free, fair-trade, sustainably sourced, free-range, humanely treated, no-conflict pancake mix you can make at home yourself… but they are not. I’ve made those kinds of pancakes before and the results can be inconsistent. I use Target brand pancake mix which always come out like airy pancake pillows but definitely feel free to use your personal favorite.
I do like to tell people trying gluten-free for the first time what I was taught a few years ago: don’t overmix your batter. It will ruin everything.
A couple of other perfect pancake tips I like to share are (1) use an electric griddle heated to 375° F versus a frying pan on the stove top, (2) use a 2-3 tablespoon cookie scoop for measuring out perfectly equal sized pancakes, and (3) pancakes are ready to flip when bubbles appear in the batter on the top and not a moment sooner. There is something very zen about pancakes. They are a very comforting and nonaggressive food. One can not be angry when there are pancakes, but I digress.
Bananas are one of the easiest fruits to sneak into another meal. They have a mild flavor and creamy consistency that easily melts into most recipes including single-ingredient banana ice cream. Other fruits and veggies that work well are pears in pancakes, avocados in frosting, carrots in pasta sauce, and even black beans in brownies. This recipe is perfect for almost every morning and for us ensures that our son will receive some amount of potassium, fiber, vitamin-c, and all the other nutrients bananas possess. Add in ground flaxseed for some bonus Omega-3 essential fatty acids (and then some).
You can stick with bananas or try mashed apples, pears, peaches, or mango. Really any squashable, mashy fruit will so. Sweet potatoes and butternut squash are awesome mix-ins as well. If using a pancake mix that calls for oil (the Target brand I use does not), mashed fruit will take the place of oil. For a batch of 12, I use 1 cup pancake mix and the equivalent of 1 medium sized banana. The other trick to this delicious recipe is using almond extract instead of traditional vanilla. Vanilla works too but the toasty and creamy aroma of almond extract really makes a difference. It really enhances the naturally nutty flavor of the ground flaxseed as well.
There is so much guilt that inherently comes with being a mom. The truth is we moms make all kinds of unintentional mistakes with undesirable results. The most important thing we can do is be flexible and be forgiving. The fact that our son hates fruit should be less of a reflection of our parenting as it should be a recognition of our ability to be creative! Other moments of parental creativity may include things like “monster spray” and swim lessons counting as a bath.
If having to sneak fruit into food is our worst offense so far, I think we’re doing pretty ok. Ask me again when we start potty training. I have no idea how to teach a boy to pee standing up.
Banana & Flaxseed Pancakes
Ingredients (makes 10-12 pancakes)
- 1 cups ready made pancake mix
- 2 Tbs ground flaxseed
- 1 medium size banana
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup almond milk (plus 1-2 tbs as needed)
- Preheat an electric griddle to 375° F. Lightly spray with cooking spray. The griddle is ready when a few drops of water sizzles when sprinkled on it.
- In a medium bowl, mash together the banana, salt, and almond extract. Stir in 1 cup of almond milk.
- Add the pancake mix, cinnamon, and ground flaxseed. Stir until all the ingredients are combined and only a few lumps remain. Add in the additional almond milk 1 Tbs at a time if needed. You’ll want a pretty smooth consistency to make for easy pouring.
- Using a large cookie dough scoop, drop the batter on the heated griddle and set for 2-3 minutes. The pancakes are ready to flip when little bubbles appear around the edges and on top. Cook another 1-2 minutes until done.
- Serve with your favorite toppings including banana slices, slivered almonds, butter, maple syrup, agave nectar, or greek yogurt.