By Brenna O’Dea
Spring is in the air…we can smell it…we can taste it…almost. We’ve got some healthy helpers to toss into your pancake batter this weekend. Get ready to start Sunday morning with a smile (and hopefully some sunshine!) because these brunch boosters will leave your hungry crew bursting with energy and ready to get outside.
Adding a dollop of dairy to your morning meal might do wonders for your digestive system. Probiotics are essential for a happy, healthy gut, and brain too. Recent buzz over the mind-gut connection has people paying more attention to what they eat and how they digest it. Stop snacking on these foods to avoid bloating and tummy trouble. Start your day with these fluff-cakes made with probiotic & protein packed yogurt, and sweetened naturally with fresh blueberries & bananas. Or try this tasty twist sweetened with none other than the sweet potato. Both of these recipes also call for fiber-full oats blended right into the batter. Talk about a happy tummy! With nearly 20 grams of protein in the average serving, and all the good bacteria your gut could ever dream of, stirring in a spoonful could be the best decision you make all day. And hey, if you won’t listen to me…take it from this hunky dude.
The Best of the Zest
A little really does go a long way. Zesting your favorite citrus fruit right into your pancake batter, or just on top for a pop of color, can elevate even the earliest of morning meals. These lemon poppy seed pancakes (that just happened to be made with Greek yogurt!) are so delicious that we recommend you make a double…or triple batch. Lemon, lime, orange, even grapefruit, whichever citrus suits your fancy, grab that zester. While zesting the citrus skin may not be the best job for your little ones, they can certainly help in the washing process. When you are just juicing the fruit, it’s alright if you miss that spot of dirt on the surface. But when the outer layer is the part going on the plate, scrub away! It helps to buy organic too, if you can, but if not, invite your tiny taste testers to lather, rinse, and repeat (or at least the first two).
Fill up on fiber first thing in the AM. Toss a handful of these tiny treasures into the mix and watch your energy levels soar and skin start glowing. Chia seeds bring a whole bunch of benefits to the table. They are full of fiber and healthy fats, and it only takes a small sprinkle feel happier & healthier with each bite. Remember those lemon poppy seed pancakes? How do lemon chia seed pancakes sound? Weird? Gross? THINK AGAIN. You and your little ones will hardly notice the difference, but your body and brain sure will. Personally, I was never able to get on board with that chia seed pudding feeding frenzy. That sticky slimy stuff made my stomach squirm. But when baked into pancakes (or anything at all), even your pickiest palates won’t even notice that nutrition bonus.
Switch up your Sweetener
As fluffy as your pancakes are, are they really complete without somethin’ sweet on the side? We think not. Maple syrup certainly does the job, and this sticky stuff satisfies most of the time. But there are better things out there. First of all, what better way to add some sweetness (and extra flavor!) to your food than with fresh fruit? Forget “all natural” and “natural flavors,” when you eat food straight from the soil, natural nutrition is a glorious given. Combine your favorite berry with a lil’ sugar n water (and of course some lemon zest too!) and you’ve go yourself a sweeter than sweet syrup MUCH healthier than the store bought stuff. Another option to make life sweeter, add a blackstrap boost. I’m talking about molasses, blackstrap molasses. That thick, dark, ooey gooey stuff you see in the store but have never really been sure about. Well now’s the time. Mix it up with a splash of water to make a perfectly pourable topping LOADED with calcium, magnesium, potassium…okay you get the point. Any “ium” your body is craving, this syrup swap will crush it.
We hope these quick ‘n easy additions make your next morning meal a lil’ healthier and whole lot yummier. Today we’re swapping out maple syrup for molasses…soon enough we’ll be swapping those snow boots for sandals and we can’t wait!
(Image by flickr member better-days licensed under Creative Commons)