Banana Pancakes are one of our favorite breakfast recipes. If you've followed us since the beginning, you know that this recipe has been a staple in my house since my kids began eating at 6 months of age!
We love using a cookie cutter to cut the pancake into a fun shape, and if your tot is old enough (2-3+), offer some almond or sunflower seed butter on the side and an appetizer spreader (those rounded mini dull knives used for cheese and spreads). Let your little one spread the nut butter (or butter or jelly) around themselves! Just be careful they aren’t eating a big glob of almond butter at once, as it can be a choking hazard.
Baby can enjoy these as well. Cut into slices so they can easily pick up!
Practice serving them cut into small pieces, strips, wedges, fun cookie cutter shapes, or whole with toddlers and kids to practice different fine motor skills.
Here’s how you make it:
Check out some of the other variations to the recipe below.
These can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for 4-6 months, so feel free to double or triple the recipe to have extras for easy weekday breakfasts! Just thaw and reheat in the toaster oven on convection or in the microwave before serving.
You can also mix it up by simply changing the toppings! Some good options are:
When making the blueberry variation, keep the blueberries out of the blender and wait to add to the completed batter.
We are big fans of Trader Joe's Bruschetta sauce. It pairs so well with chicken in the oven, Instant Pot or slow cooker...and now you can also try it with pesto! This simple pour-and-cook meal pairs nicely with whole grain, gluten-free or bean/lentil-based pasta and some roasted veggies!
Full disclosure - the broccoli turns a little olive green (I literally had flashbacks to food science class and kicked myself for not remembering this!) so I would probably omit it next time in lieu of sliced olives, but feel free to try it if you don’t care about color!
Here’s how you make it:
In case you haven’t noticed, I think most recipes are just rough guidelines. I usually just dump stuff in a bowl, pan or blender and see what happens. That’s how these smoothies were created.
I knew I wanted an orange flavor (kind of like a creamsicle), so it needed sweetness, orange, and vanilla. I added full-fat plain Greek yogurt so it’s filling and balanced (fruit and some sugar are totally fine, we just want them balanced with protein and fat for blood sugar regulation) and some real maple syrup for sweetness. You could do whole dates or other sweetener, or if it’s sweet enough for you feel free to omit it! Of course, banana adds to that sweetness and texture as well, and almond milk adds liquid required for blending. We poured this into popsicle molds and they are delicious!
Remember, you want your kid to know what you’re using to make smoothies - no hiding or sneaking foods. Ask them to help you by pouring in ingredients! Serve foods in their whole form as often as you can. Smoothies and popsicles are most appreciated when it’s freaking HOT in Arizona and all things cold are a win.
Here’s the recipe-ish:
Add milk to blender first, then add all other ingredients. Blend until smooth and enjoy as a smoothie, smoothie bowl or frozen as a popsicle!
An easy recipe for the whole family.
This One Pot Hamburger Helper by The Defined Dish was a massive success in my house. How massive? Well, my eldest inhaled 3 helpings of it. The best part? ONE POT, people. I made it in a dutch oven on the stove and loved only cleaning one big pot. (Well, let’s be honest, my husband does the dishes! He loved it too!)
This recipe makes a ton of food so you can have leftovers or freeze extras. We used organic beef bone both for more minerals and promote gut integrity. Use whole grain elbow pasta if possible (gluten-free if needed).
Here’s the recipe straight from The Defined Dish - modifications listed below:
Dips can help selective eaters be more adventurous.
We love Tzatziki (cucumber yogurt dip) for veggies, crackers and pita...and the kids we tested this on last week were gobbling it up! It’s good on its own too - grab a spoon! Recipe inspired by Food Network. Here’s how to make it:
Peel and dice cucumber. Mix it in a small bowl with all other ingredients and stir until well-blended. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
Dips are a fun way to enjoy foods! If you have a selective eater in your family, try offering a dip that works with the meal. When given the opportunity to dip their foods, kids are more likely to try a new food or a food they might otherwise avoid. If you're interested in more tips like these, check out our online Toddler Course.
A quick snack for kids (and adults).
We demoed this chocolatey smoothie for about 40 preschoolers and elementary school kids recently at my daughters’ school, and it was generally a hit! (I didn’t expect everyone to love it, but every kid tried it and most of them kept drinking it! It was a hit with all the adults, too!)
Remember....exposure is what counts. When you’re making smoothies have your tot help you, and let them learn about what’s going into their food! Taste along the way to make sure the flavor is right. Here’s how to make it:
Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender (coconut milk on the bottom) and blend until smooth. Makes approximately 24 ounces.
Easy ideas to try when kids are overly tired.
Anyone else have a case of the Mondays recently? This was my almost 3-year-old after her first day of full-day preschool school (9-3) during which she refused to nap. I took her sleepy body out of the car at home, set her on her feet, and when I turned around after unloading the car she was passed out on the floor.
Can we talk about feeding overtired children? As you have probably learned, kids don’t eat spectacularly well when they’re tired. Even young babies struggle to focus on a feed when they haven’t had enough sleep. So, what’s a tired (and frustrated) parent to do when your child is crazy and overtired but needs to eat?
The overall goal is that we have family meals *most of the time* and serve our kids what we eat *most of the time* (maybe with some special considerations), but we’re also real parents with real kids who sometimes just need a full tummy and a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Get that sweet babe to bed and get down with some mindless TV or a good book, because you deserve to celebrate surviving a day with an overtired, adorable little lunatic!
Keep it simple, friends.
What did you have for breakfast today? One of our go-to’s is “egg in a hole” (and holy smokes, there are so many different names for this delightful meal!). Basically, cook an egg inside a buttered piece of bread and serve it with some fruit. Filling, balanced, and wholesome, but also absolutely delicious. Here’s how we make it:
What is gelatin, and how do you use it?
Gelatin (and collagen) are all the rage right now. How do you use them, and do you really need them?
While gelatin can have amazing culinary properties and beneficial health benefits, we don’t think most families *need* gelatin or collagen powders. However, we do like to have it on hand for homemade gummies or to throw it in popsicle and smoothie recipes for a boost of protein.
Gelatin is essentially an amino acid that comes from the collagen of animal connective tissue and bone. It is helpful when making gummies, jello and many other recipes since it dissolves in hot water and has a thick, gummy texture. Gelatin can also help promote joint, skin and gut health. Just one tablespoon has 11 grams of protein, so it’s a potent protein source for those who struggle to get enough of this essential macronutrient.
Collagen peptides are similar to gelatin in that they're made from amino acids from animal connective tissue, but they're cut into smaller peptide pieces and don't have the same gumming effect as gelatin. I like using collagen peptides for clients experiencing gut or skin issues or those who need more protein in their diet. I prefer Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides when recommending it to clients, but work with a healthcare provider if you're experiencing gut or skin issues.
Gelatin is relatively flavorless and dissolves only in hot water - in cold it’s a little clumpy. When we put it in smoothies, we keep quantities small and blend it well. Just don’t go nuts on the gelatin, friends - most toddlers only need 16-18 G protein daily (minimum).
Below is our favorite popsicle recipe using gelatin powder by Great Lakes Gelatin found on Amazon.
Blend in high speed blender and taste - if it’s not sweet enough depending on the fruit used, you may need a dash of sweetener like maple syrup or honey (no honey for babies under age 1). Pour into popsicle molds, freeze and enjoy! Makes at least 8-10 popsicles depending on mold size.
Corn on the cob can have a nutrient-rich place in your family's diet.
What's the deal with corn?
We’ve seen people mention that “corn has no nutritional value.” When it comes to whole corn, this couldn’t be further from the truth, friends!
(By the way, the term “no nutritional value” doesn’t really apply to food when you think about it. Yes, many foods are more nutrient rich than others, but almost every food supplies something nutritionally, even if it’s just calories. This is especially true for veggies and fruits - they all have some sort of nutritional value.)
Did you know that corn has helped sustain civilizations for millennia? If it were void of nutrients it wouldn’t have helped grow populations like it has. Yes, corn byproducts are now overused in the processed food industry and in raising livestock, but whole corn kernels are a great source of fiber, zeaxanthin and lutein (both important phytochemicals), potassium, B vitamins, and magnesium. Sweet corn is also usually non-GMO for those worried about it.
Corn is technically a vegetable - yes, a starchy, higher-carbohydrate one - and kids are drawn to it because eating it on the cob is novel and fun. It’s also a “safe” flavor for many kids who are reluctant to eat new foods, so having corn on the plate may get them going and trying other options. Remember, eating begets eating! Once they’re on a roll they may be more open minded. (We go through all of this in our toddler course!) Babies can have corn on the cob too - they tend to really like it! Just serve it on the cob cooked very well so it's soft.
Side note: corn on the cob holders are fun novelty tools for older kiddos (who won’t pull them out of corn and poke themselves - you know your kiddo best with this)! We found Interlocking Corn Holders by Zyliss at Whole Foods today and were so pumped to use them for corn on the cob with dinner! Check out Walmart, Target or Amazon for great corn on the cob holders.
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!