In my quest to cook healthy and delicious meals for my family, I am always looking for new recipes. This is especially true for breakfast, a time that can slip into cereal monotony real fast. With school starting next week, I want my daughter to be fueled for her day, to have the energy she needs to learn and grow, and to rock those monkey bars. Some of her favorites include homemade pancakes and waffles, poached eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt, and of course sugar-laden cereal that she can get when she talks Daddy into it when I’m not looking.
Last year my daughter complained often about how hungry she was in the mornings, claiming that she started watching the clock around 10:30, counting the minutes until the lunch bell. To remedy this, I tried a number of new recipes and served them to my daughter over the summer. I scoured my favorite food blogs for Insta-worthy plates I could serve my sleepy-eyed angel.
Protein-packed pancakes with whole wheat flour, oats, and applesauce in the batter! Crunchy granola and berry-covered frozen yogurt! Green smoothies that taste like a tropical slushy!
Who wouldn’t want to wake up to these filling and healthy meals?
My daughter, apparently. Each of these recipes was a total flop. Two thumbs down. Realizing I have an audience of one, I am thinking that she just has an incredibly ungrateful discerning palate. I’m determined to find at least one kid who will eat this stuff, so I’m sharing my three healthy breakfast flops with you. If these sound good to you or your kiddos, you’re invited to breakfast. Don’t mind my child sitting at the table with her Cap’n Crunch.
The Best-Ever Green Smoothie
I mean, the title says it all, right? This smoothie recipe came from one of my favorite food bloggers, Iowa Girl Eats. I always worry about my daughter getting her daily allowance of vegetables. Smoothies are a great solution for packing a healthy punch, but green smoothies can taste on the bitter side. This blogger promised that her green concoction was a hit with her toddler because the mango flavor masked the spinach and kale. She even included a photo of her little guy sucking one down with a contented smile.
Because I believe most of what my food bloggers tell me, I gave it a try. I was so happy with the result! It really was delicious and refreshing, and not a trace of bitterness. With just four ingredients, it was also a snap to prepare and produced a technicolor green that would appeal to anyone. Except my daughter. A couple sips in, my daughter proclaimed that she was ‘full,’ her polite way of saying, ‘Vegetables for breakfast? Nice try.’ Strike one.
Oatmeal and Applesauce Pancakes
My daughter is a pancake junkie. She’ll put a trucker to shame at a local diner, plowing through a dinner plate-sized pancake. I often cook up a big batch of my mom’s pancake recipe on a Sunday and freeze the leftovers to eat throughout the week. My kid raves about my homemade pancakes, closing her eyes and uttering happy descriptors like, ‘fluffy.’ Substitute buttermilk and she’s over the edge! Substitute whole wheat flour, add oats and applesauce, and she cries. Literally.
I mistakenly thought that I could capitalize on her love of pancakes, but change it up to provide a whole-grain option that would be more filling. Another food blogger on my regular rotation is 100 Days of Real Food. Her photos always show appreciative and satisfied kids as they dig into the healthy options she serves them. Her Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes on the blog caught my eye, but the “Whole Wheat Pancakes with Applesauce and Oatmeal” in the breakfast chapter of her first cookbook sounded even better!
The whole wheat flour provided a slightly nutty flavor while the oats gave it a nice texture. They were also surprisingly light, which is not always the case with whole wheat versions. I was actually smiling inside when I flipped these warm beauties onto a plate, and drizzled warm maple syrup over the top of local creamery butter. My daughter took one look, burst into tears, and said, “What happened to our pancakes?” Apparently messing with her favorite breakfast is like someone serving me hot tea instead of coffee in the morning. It just made her sad and disappointed.
Strawberry and Granola Frozen Yogurt Bark
You know those recipes you come across on your Facebook feed or during a rabbit-hole Pinterest session? Something you haven’t seen before, but that looks surprisingly simple yet yummy? Frozen yogurt bark was one of those ideas. I hadn’t thought of it before! What a great way to make yogurt exciting again! I watched one of the Six Sisters’ Stuff bloggers make these on a Facebook Live video and thought, ‘I have all of these ingredients! I’ll surprise my kid with this fun, frozen breakfast treat!” She’ll be so taken by the novelty of it that she won’t realize she’s also getting the added benefit of protein from the Greek yogurt.
This recipe was too easy. Spread a thin layer of plain Greek yogurt mixed with vanilla and honey on a lined sheet pan. Sprinkle your favorite granola and sliced strawberries on top, and freeze for a few hours. Take it out and break it into “bark” before putting it into a sealed container and back in the freezer. Imagine my excitement when my daughter woke up the next morning and I had a fun surprise to enjoy on a hot Iowa summer morning! She was excited and intrigued. I was smug and proud as I left her at the table while I got ready for the day. A few minutes later, she came to me, her fingers covered in melting yogurt, and said, ‘No offense, Mama, but the more I eat, the worse it gets!”
With just five days until the first day of school, I’ve learned my lesson. My kid feels about pancakes and yogurt the way I feel about my morning cup of strong, black coffee: Don’t mess with it. I guess we’ll stick with our tried-and-true breakfast favorites.
P.S. I happened to love the green smoothie and the pancakes, and both are a part of my morning rotation. The yogurt, well, I’m adding that to my list of #nailedit kitchen attempts.
What are your kids’ favorite and filling breakfasts for back to school?