Total Nutrition Technology
Sunday, August 23, 2015

Vegetables can be a challenge in our house... Yes, even in the homes of Registered Dietitians and Health Educators, noses get turned up to veggies! My oldest loves them, and will try nearly anything at least once, but that doesn't always mean she'll finish it or go back for more. My youngest is apt to simply cross his arms and refuse to eat at all. So I'm always brainstorming ways to "hide" vegetables that I know they'll like inside other foods that I know they love. For example, I've actually been known to add puree of pumpkin, carrots, and/or sweet potato to peanut butter (or Wow! Butter) and jelly sandwiches! So when I stumbled across carrot cake pancakes on the menu of a well known breakfast restaurant, I got an idea - what if we made simply carrot pancakes. As in, not spiced carrot cake, but simply add carrots to pancakes? Here are the delectable results!

I start my research by plugging it into the ol' Google machine: carrot pancake. A ton of results! Yay! So I won't have to experiment too much to find the right combo. Or so I thought. Sadly, nearly all of these recipes had me grating raw carrots. I might be adventurous and have a desire for my kids to enjoy great health, but 

  1. Raw carrots would never cook or soften in the time it would take the pancake to cook - so I'd have firm chunks of raw carrot. My kids are way too smart for that!
  2. I don't have the time or patience to grate carrots. Plus, with two young kids running around, I'd probably slice a finger! 
  3. My son would most likely put two and two together, ruining my shot at the whole thing working out. He would see the carrots being grated, see them going into the bowl, and realize that I'm hiding healthy (albeit delicious) food into his favorites. I can't risk losing another food to this kid's incredible deductive reasoning skills. 

So a little (totally worth-it) experimentation gave us this easy recipe that yields about 24 three-inch diameter pancakes (I made 10 three-inch and 7 six-inch). Even if you don't have a large family, make the whole recipe (or even double it) so that you have enough left over for the rest of the week. We found them to be just as amazing from the freezer (after 45 seconds in the microwave) the next day!


  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour (you can use white or wheat, whatever you or your kids are most accustomed to), 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (to cut the bitterness that baking powder gives), 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (or 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice). 
Photo Credit: Stacey Gretka
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/3 cup milk (we used skim), 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine, and one 15oz can of no salt added sliced carrots (make sure you strain and rinse them very well). 
  • Go ahead and turn on your stove top to ready the pan. If you are using a non-stick pan, you will not need to grease the pan. My stove was set to medium-high.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and using the whisk, mix well, scraping the sides as you go. As you mix, you'll find the carrots will break up into small pieces. 
Photo Credit: Stacey Gretka
  • Pour 1/2 ladle full of batter onto the hot pan for child-size pancakes, 1 ladle full for an adult-sized pancake. Wait until you see bubbles forming on the surface of the pancakes, or until the bottom is golden brown - about two minutes.
Photo Credit: Stacey Gretka
  • Repeat with the remaining batter until all the pancakes are made! Serve with their favorite fruit and/or a protein source that they like and watch them gobble up the deliciousness! 

Save the rest for fast weekday breakfast:

  1. After the pancakes have cooled, lay out a long piece of freezer paper.
  2. On the far right side of the paper, place a pancake. Take the rest of the freezer paper across the top of the pancake, so that the remaining paper now lies the right of the pancake. 
  3. Place another pancake on top, and cross the freezer paper back to the left.
  4. Continue until either all of the freezer paper or all of the pancakes have been used. 
  5. Place pancake stack in a plastic freezer bag, seal, label, and place in freezer.
  6. When you're ready to enjoy, simply place 1-2 pancakes on a microwave safe dish and heat for 45 seconds to a minute. 
Photo Credit: Stacey Gretka

We hope you and your family enjoy these delicious pancakes as much as we do! When planning for them, consider that 1 six-inch pancake counts for 1 starch (and 1/4 vegetable, if you're counting quarters). 

And you can also make adjustments to add more or different veggies. Here is what a TNT client recently had to say about the alterations they made to the recipe for it to fit their lifestyle:

"Winner, winner - chicken dinner! Made it tonight (daughter was asking for pancakes). Only used carrots (had available), but it was a huge hit. We had some limits on ingredients so made some changes - used whole wheat flour, used almond silk vs milk, then added a tablespoon of cocoa (got inspired). Yummy stuff. Both kids liked them. Veggies!" 
So go on: enjoy your food!

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