Red, White, Blue (and Green!) Pancakes: A Healthy Twist on Your 4th of July Breakfast

By Brenna O’Dea

“Can I have a side of spinach with my pancakes please?” Said no kid ever. Well we’ve got a secret ingredient that is sure to jazz-up, and health-up your 4th of July morning! These are some of the fluffiest, tastiest pancakes around, and you (and your kids) will never guess what we snuck inside…spinach! With just 10 ingredients you can dish out a nutritious and delicious breakfast that even your pickiest eaters will eat right up!

You can find this simple, scrumptious recipe at Weelicious, along with many more healthy meal and snack ideas that the whole family is sure to love! Added bonus, they are completely vegan, and can be made totally gluten free with an easy swap of gluten free flour!

Now for the really fun part, making these already beautiful and delicious cakes 4th of July themed. This step is easy, simply dollop on your favorite Greek yogurt, (or coconut yogurt for the dairy wary) and toss your favorite farmer’s market fresh summer berries right on top! We love all varieties under the sun – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and even goji berries for a change of pace. For an even more festive touch, spread that yogurt on each pancake, and arrange red and blue berries like stars and stripes on the American flag!

Finally, here are a few fun facts about the star of this show, spinach, and some awesome alternatives you can add that will still give those pancakes a pop of color and an extra dose of health and wellness:

Spinach: This gorgeous green is home to nearly a dozen vitamins and nutrients that will keep your little one’s brain and body running on lasting energy all the way until lunch. Vitamin A, E, and K, Folate and Niacin, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, and Zinc – just to name a few! Spinach also has a high water content to help keep kids hydrated while they run around outside in these HOT summer months.

Kale: Known as one of the strongest SUPERFOODS out there, kale will certainly add a nutritious boost to whatever dish you toss it in. Kale can also be known for it’s bitter taste and hard-to-chew texture, but blended up in this smooth pancake batter, you won’t even know it’s there (except for the vibrant green color)! Kale contains essential vitamins and minerals just like spinach, including Vitamin C, E, and K, Thiamine and Riboflavin, plenty of dietary fiber, and Phosphorous.

Wheatgrass: “You want my kids to eat GRASS?” You say. Well, yes, but in powdered form inside fluffy pancakes, topped with tart yogurt and sweet berries, your family WILL NOT turn into a herd of cows, I promise. Wheatgrass contains chlorophyll, the green pigment that helps the process of photosynthesis in most plants. But why should you feed this to your HUMAN children who need more than sunlight and water to grow? Chlorophyll contains high amounts of antioxidants, and it promotes digestive cleansing and healing in bodies young and old. So skip the salt and pepper, sprinkle on some green goodness!

Spirulina: Now, hear me out for a second. While the strange name might make you want to run for the wheatgrass covered hills, this addition will give your pancakes a huge, powerful, nutrient punch. Spirulina is not the typical green vegetable, it is actually a cyanobacterium. Say what now? Don’t worry, it’s just algae. It is a blue-green algae that grows in high-alkaline, mineral-rich lakes. It is actually possible to grow spirulina in your own home, but that’s a story for another time. For now, all you need to know is that this super duper green powder contains ALL essential amino acids, and it is a COMPLETE protein, not to mention the added bonus of 20 vitamins and minerals.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy 4th of July weekend filled with sunshine, superfoods, and secret ingredients that will keep your kiddos fed and full for just a little while longer, so you can kick off your flip flops and have a moment of peace and quiet…and maybe a cooling summer cocktail too.

(Image by flickr member liz west licensed under Creative Commons)

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