Cinnamon Banana Oat Pancakes

Toddler, Kid, Adult

Science Corner
As discussed in a previous post, cinnamon has a plethora of science-backed health benefits like anti-diabetes, cholesterol-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-Parkinson's and female hormone balancing activities - all in once spice, that's pretty darned remarkable. Oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan which has been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, boost immune function, stabilize blood sugar and even prevent breast cancer. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium which is critical for heart function. Creamy and naturally sweet, they contain fiber to promote digestion and are a 'PREbiotic' - food that feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract. All of these nutritional powerhouses join forces with anti-oxidant and vitamin-rich berries and omega-3 and calcium-rich chia seeds in this delicious and decadent breakfast that is the perfect, sustainably energizing and nutritious way to start your tot's (and your) day. 

8 pancakes


For the pancakes
2 bananas
2 eggs
1 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional, for an added health boost)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (preferable Ceylon as discussed previously here)
Butter or coconut oil for cooking

For the berry compote
1 cup frozen or fresh mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water

In a small saucepan, cook the berries, ginger and water over medium low flame for 10 minutes until the fruit is soft and mashable with a fork. While the compote is cooking, blend all the pancake ingredients except the butter / oil in a food processor into a smooth batter. Set aside. 

Turn the heat off the compote, stir in the honey and taste for sweetness, adding more honey if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and allow it to cool. 

In a skillet or non-stick pan, heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or butter over medium heat. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour in the pancake batter and cook until it sets, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for about a minute. Wipe the pan clean with a dish towel between pancakes to prevent burning. 

Serve the pancakes with a generous dollop of cooled berry compote. The compote is also wonderful with plain yoghurt or spread on buttered bread. 

Paprika Pomodoro

Store-bought pasta sauce is tempting because of the convenience factor but this tangy, delicious and vegetable-infused paprika pomodoro is so easy to make that I bet you won't be as tempted at the grocery store once you've tried it. You can add whichever veggies you choose and puree for a smooth texture. We use it with whole grain pasta, over portobello mushroom or regular pizzas and even as a substitute for ketchup! 

Science Corner
Kids love tomato sauce and luckily, tomatoes are bursting with nutrients. Rich in vitamin C and biotin, anti-oxidants like lycopene (released on cooking) and a boatload of phytonutrients, tomatoes have heart and bone health-boosting as well as anti-cancer properties. Paprika contains a potent anti-inflammatory compound called capsinoid. The strongest scientific evidence for paprika is for its anti-obesity effects - researchers from Penn State University observed significant increases in antioxidant status and decreases in insulin and triglyceride levels in human subjects after a meal laced with a spice blend (containing 30% paprika) versus the same exact meal without spices. 

500 g / 4 toddler pasta sauce servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 celery sticks finely chopped
2 carrots finely chopped
2 cups tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste
splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)

In a pot for which you have a lid, warm the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sautee for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the carrot and celery and sautee until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato puree, bay leaf and paprika and give the sauce a good stir. Cover and cook on a low flame for 15 minutes until the veggies are softened stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. You can also add zucchini, spinach etc (which will alter the color of the sauce) if you like. Once the veggies are cooked, season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. If you like more acidity, you can add the vinegar at this point. Remove the bay leaf and puree for a smooth texture or leave it chunky, if you prefer. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days for a quick and delicious option in a pinch. Serve it with whole grain pasta, in mushroom pizzas or as a healthy alternative to ketchup! 

Cumin-y Refreshing Spinach Soup

As far as I'm concerned, kids can't eat too many green veggies! This cold and refreshing spinach soup has been a surprising hit with my toddler and also works beautifully on the family table. Serve it with a hot grilled cheese multigrain sandwich for a satisfying and nutritious lunch or summer supper. 

Science Corner
Spinach is one of the most nutritious veggies we can give our kids and families. It's rich in carotenoids (converted into vitamin A in the body), vitamins B, C, E, K and minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese and calcium although the calcium in spinach is poorly absorbed because of it's high oxalic acid content. One way around this is to boil the spinach (which we do here) to reduce the oxalate content. Combined with Greek yoghurt, digestion boosting and antioxidant rich cumin and lemon, which boosts the absorption of iron, this cool and refreshing spiced soup is yummy and healthy for all. 

2 adults and a toddler as a side dish or starter

5 cups spinach leaves
1 cup water for cooking the spinach
1 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
1/2 lemon juiced
olive oil for drizzling
1 teaspoon fresh chopped coriander

Place the spinach leaves and water in a pot with a lid. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Puree extremely well in a food processor or using an immersion blender. Allow it to cool. If your toddler/kid is averse to texture, particularly shreds of spinach (mine is!), you can strain for a smoother soup texture or feel free to leave as is. 

Mix the yoghurt with the cooled spinach and stir in the cumin, salt, sugar and lemon. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and coriander (if your kid doesn't hate "green things") as a refreshing and nutritious starter or side. 

Spiced Coconut Chia Pudding

Spiced Coconut Chia Seed Pudding
12 months+, Toddlers, Kids, Adults

Chia means 'strength' and chia seeds are the new superfood for good reason. They are high in calcium - 2 tablespoons have 180 mg of calcium, the same as 4oz of milk! They also have plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, quality protein, fiber and anti-oxidants. They are a great addition to smoothies, salads, breakfast bars, puddings. Here, they marry beautifully with coconut milk which is great for you in moderation and fiber, protein and calcium-rich rolled oats for a decadent high calcium pudding that takes seconds to prepare and will put any other power breakfast to shame.

1-2 toddler servings (240 mg of calcium total)

1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch cinnamon, about 1/8 teaspoon
2 cardamom pods smashed

Mix all ingredients together and give them a good loving stir. Refrigerate overnight and voila, breakfast is ready. You can stir in fruit of choice (berries or mangoes work nicely here) and add some more coconut milk if your kids like a more liquid pudding.


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Bananatini (Banana Tahini Honey Cinnamon Slices)

Bananatini (Banana Tahini Honey Cinnamon Slices)
Toddler, Kid, Adult

This is a power breakfast like no other and so delicious to boot! Calcium-loaded tahini with good fats, protein and B vitamins slathered on sweet banana packed with potassium and complex carbohydrates drizzled with anti-bacterial, anti-viral sweet honey and a sprinkling of blood sugar-stabilizing cinnamon. Enough said. 

1 - 2 toddler breakfast portions

1 banana sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon tahini 
1 teaspoon honey or date syrup
Pinch, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Slice a banana lengthwise. Spread the tahini, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve peppered with berries on the side. Combine with a boiled egg and / or a glass of milk for a calcium, vitamin D and protein-rich power breakfast.