You may be looking for a new tradition this year, or due to less travel, be in charge of your own holiday breakfast for the first time in awhile. A festive holiday pancake board featuring your favorite fruit toppings is the perfect solution so everyone in your home can customize a fun breakfast with the power of produce!
The Joy of Customizing Your Meal
Everyone loves a good appetizer board because you get to choose what appeals to you. These boards are even better when they’re packed to the brim with options so you can create a balanced snack (or even meal at some holiday gatherings). If we as adults get excited about these eating experiences, it’s sure to be fun for kids, too.
As a dietitian, I know that some of the “food fights” put up by selective toddlers and kids really just have to do with control. I’ve seen on my own and via colleagues how family style meals and snack trays can be the key to children trying – and liking – new foods. By having the choice of what to put on their plate (out of the foods you’ve already chosen to include), they feel more in control and may be more likely to try a new fruit without you verbally encouraging it. Pancakes are a familiar and fun food for kids of any age, so having that as a start allows them to feel comfortable. Since you can decorate your holiday pancake board with festive colored fruit, it may make it more exciting for them to try than on a normal day, too.
How to Make a Holiday Pancake Board
- Grab a board. You don’t have to have a fancy cheese board and can just grab the largest cutting board you have! If you don’t have an over-sized cutting board or serving tray, use the largest you have for the pancakes and set up the small ramekins and bowls with ingredients around it for the same effect.
- Pick a pancake recipe. I’m sure you already have go-to in your home, but my family go-to in the cooler months is my pumpkin buckwheat oat pancakes. They’re a fluffy no-sugar added, gluten-free option that includes produce and my toddler gobbles them up every time. For my board I chose an easy chocolate pancake too so there could be an option that felt more like a treat, too.
- Select your produce. For a Christmas feel, I chose a variety of red and green fruits, even if they aren’t all “in season”. We’re lucky to have all fruits available year round, so I take full advantage of it with the red berries. It’s also fun to have in-season options like Pomegranate arils. My son started enjoying them when I had them out on an afternoon snack board one day, so the same may be true for your kids! Green from apples and kiwi rounded out the color theme.
- Add healthy fats and protein. Nuts and seeds provide healthy fat, protein, and more fiber, which slow delivery of sugar into the bloodstream, reducing blood sugar spikes and crashes while helping promote feelings of fullness. On a holiday, this will be great to combat any spike from maple syrup or if you’re using white flour in your pancakes. On a regular basis, we spread peanut or almond butter on pancakes, so those are a great base, but if you’re looking for texture, cut pistachios or pumpkin seeds for their green color and the white accent of hemp hearts are delicious options, too.
- Top it off. If you still want the syrup-y feel, go for it! I recommend using 100% pure maple, but you can also use canned cherries to soak into the pancakes and provide a festive nutrient boost, while apple butter or a drizzle of honey are nice options, too.