I am the meal planner and cook probably 90% of our family’s meals.  So, by and large, our family eats the way that I eat.  Every so often I will prepare some white rice for the kids and my husband, but other than that our meals consist of veggies, animal protein, hefty doses of fat, and usually some fruit for the children.  I often offer two veggies with one being on the starchier side – winter squash, sweet potato, turnips, etc. – and one being green and leafy – kale, collards, a simple salad … .

The kids have transitioned off of grains better than I expected.  We first eliminated gluten containing grains, but that was actually pretty easy because they cause my daughter (4) so much gastric distress that she actually begs me not to give her anything that looks like bread or a bun.  My son goes back and forth on wanting gluten sorts of foods, with his desire usually peaking at a birthday party when some gorgeous confection is being trotted out.  But, for the most part, he doesn’t want grain-based foods anymore.

I’ve been getting some questions from some of you about how I do all this “real food” stuff with kids, and while that is absolutely always going to be a work in progress / evolving project, I do want to share some of our struggles or issues because I think the ways we have worked through them may be helpful.

One of the huge pluses to eating the way that we do is that we don’t snack very much.  I send in a snack for the kids each day which they eat around ten, and then after school they have a small snack at about 3.  The morning snack is typically fruit.  I make sure that the afternoon snack has both protein and fat.  They don’t whine about being hungry until nearly dinnertime.

I contrast this with how we used to be, where the snacking started at 1-ish in the afternoon, and I fielded constant requests for more up until dinnertime.  That was when our snacks were grain-based and I believe that my kids were on the sugar high / sugar crash treadmill.

The reason that I feel okay sending in fruit for the morning is that we have really amped up our kids’ protein intake in the mornings.  I am a big believer in a protein and fat rich breakfast because my own habits have done a 180 since I went from the grain-based to animal protein and fat-based meal.  I used to eat at 7ish and then be starving and “hangry” by ten, necessitating a snack to tide me over until lunch.

No more.  Now, I eat a LOT of breakfast.  I eat at least two sources of animal protein, a starchy vegetable or a leafy green, drink bone broth, and slather fat on anything I can.  I am usually not hungry (and it’s just hungry – not ravenous) until 1 or 2 pm.  This is absolutely life-changing when you are a mother with three small children.  It’s like having a whole extra hour in my day.  Plus, I don’t get shaky and evil when I am hungry anymore which makes me a much nicer mom.

The kids aren’t quite there yet.  We are still working to wean them from the expectation that breakfast needs to be sweet.  Sometimes we make gluten free pancakes from the Namaste mix.  We add coconut milk to  boost the fat content and make them more satiating.  I also love, love, love the waffles from Eat Like a Dinosaur by The Paleo Parents.  They are nut-butter based and freeze beautifully.  We always serve the kids eggs, sausage, bacon, or some other animal protein so these other yummies are not the main focus of the meal.  We are also very careful how much maple syrup we let them have.  A tablespoonful of real maple syrup has 23g of sugar.  For comparison, the chocolate chips I use have 8g per tablespoon.  Coconut nectar is a lower sugar option.  My husband loves it.

Today I share a recipe that we added into the breakfast rotation about a year ago.  I offer two ways to make them and you can decide which your family prefers.  They are really quite tasty … my grandmother was here last Christmas and I served them.  She ate them all.  (Sorry, kids!)  Though she’s “Granny,” I thought it appropriate to call them Nanny Cakes.

One more note.  Don’t even attempt to make these unless you have a very flexy, extremely thin spatula.  If you’ve tried to make one of the various coconut pancake recipes you may have encountered troubles flipping them.  You will have the same trouble with these if you try to use a silicone or thicker spatula.  I love the one in my Marketplace.

(Find other recipes with five or fewer ingredients here.)

Nanny Cakes

  • 2 ripe (but not overripe) bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • coconut oil for frying (or ghee or grassfed butter)
  • maple syrup, coconut nectar, grassfed butter, etc. for serving

Option 1 – Swedish Pancake Style

  1. Puree bananas in high-powered blender or food processor.
  2. Add vanilla and cinnamon.  Puree.
  3. Add eggs.  Pulse a few times to mix.
  4. Melt coconut oil or other fat over medium heat on a griddle or in a skillet.
  5. Pour batter onto cooking surface.
  6. You want to cook on the first side longer than the second.  Make sure that the Nanny Cakes get bubbly all over (not just in the center as you might with grain-based pancakes.)
  7. Carefully flip, remove when done and serve.

Option 2 – Fritter Style

  1. Mash bananas in medium bowl.
  2. Add vanilla and cinnamon and stir to incorporate.
  3. In small bowl, crack eggs and beat gently.
  4. Add beaten eggs to banana mixture.  Stir to incorporate.  Your “batter” should be pretty lumpy.
  5. Melt coconut oil or other fat over medium heat on a griddle or in a skillet.
  6. Spoon batter onto cooking surface.
  7. When egg looks almost fully cooked, flip and cook quickly on the second side.
  8. Remove and serve.
Option 1, on the cast iron griddle.  Not ready to flip, yet!

One Response to “Gutting the Grains – Plus, Nanny Cakes”

  1. on 13 Dec 2012 at 8:55 amhot Nai Nai

    These should be called Nai Nai pancakes as I eat them every time I have an overripe bananna….as I used to do with pancakes I put almond butter and during strawberry season I use A butter with fresh strawberries….better then a fruit salad

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