With Pancake Tuesday around the corner we here at The Cool Food School are shining the light on pancakes.

 

The tradition of eating pancakes on the day before the start of Lent (a period of abstinence in the 40 days before Easter) has been documented for centuries. The idea was to rid the house of all the rich foods that were discouraged during Lent such as eggs, milk and sugar. Pancakes seem the perfect way to go about this.

 

In my house during the 70’s and 80’s, pancakes were served with lemon and sugar, sometimes banana and that was it, basically. They were generally served at tea time and made with flour, egg and milk. The batter had to be made the night before to make the best pancakes, cue great excitement when you saw the mixing bowl coming out of a Monday night.

 

Fast forward a whole heap of years and my kids are also getting all excited about Pancake Tuesday. They are pretty uninterested in the history behind the ritual of pancake making the day before Ash Wednesday, instead focusing on how many and often they can eat them! Nowadays, Nutella is a a favourite pancake topping for many but I’m afraid with 21g of sugar per portion, the “meanest mummy in Ireland” (thanks to the 6 year old for that!) won’t be offering any. Instead, we’ll have lots of fresh fruit, some good quality maple syrup and possibly some 70% melted chocolate!

 

As my taste experts, my kids have tried lots of healthier pancake options that I have trialled since the inception of The Cool Food School. Their requests for this year’s Pancake Tuesday are

  • “none of those healthy pancakes you make, Mum”
  • “we’ll have them 3 times - normal ones for breakfast with fruit and sugar, then we’ll pop to the local creperie for lunch and finally, after dinner we’ll have them with ice cream and chocolate sauce” (almost verbatim from the 11 year old, spokesperson for all 3)
  • “just use the pancake mix Dad bought”.

 

I don’t know whether to cry with laughter or rage. But #Nevergiveup is my mantra so I’ll be hiding a few sly healthy ingredients in the pancakes anyway! Here are my favourite recipes and tips:

 

  • 1 egg and 1 banana - mix together well and cook as a normal pancake. Easy, healthy and tasty. I top mine with orange segment, Glenisk natural yoghurt and a dusting of cacao powder
  • spinach pancakes - I added a cup of spinach to my normal pancake mix or you could try this recipe from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/34832/spinach-pancakes/
  • oatmeal pancakes - blend porridge oats to make a powder and use this instead of refined white flour in your pancakes
  • swop white flour for spelt, wholemeal or half and half (white/spelt or white/wholemeal)
  • throw some blueberries into the batter before you cook it
  • think about your toppings. Offer loads of fruit options - berries are great as well as   banana , grated apple, orange and pear, nuts or seeds and natural yoghurt. Sweeten with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
  • make a chia raspberry jam - simple and tasty. This is the one I use https://thelittlegreenspoon.com/2014/03/26/raspberry-chia-jam/
  •  

Happy flipping! 

As a mum of 3, I know how difficult, challenging and difficult (worth saying twice!) it can be, feeding them a healthy, balanced diet. A couple of years ago, I left my full-time job and retrained as a Health and Nutrition Coach - much to the disgust of my children. My goal is to teach children about the joys of healthy eating (so yes, I know how difficult it is!) through my business, The Cool Food School (www.thecoolfoodschool.ie). I also like to run, drink coffee and ignore the housework.

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