Trying to expose your kids to more vegetables? Try out this “Sneaky” Mini Green Pancakes recipe!

Anything that is new often takes time to be accepted. This may also be the case when we expose kids to new food, not just vegetables. Food acceptance and behavior is a well-studied field, and it has been found that learned food preferences actually start in the womb! This means that food and taste exposure can actually start before birth. The first two years of life are the easiest stages wherein food acceptance happens to new food with fewer exposures. These food preferences can be seen up to adulthood.

Two ways to deal with the challenge of food acceptance is by (1) repeated exposure and (2) flavor-flavor learning. Repeatedly exposing a child to the same food, but in different forms, may gradually increase the likelihood of acceptance. If your child is averse to eating whole leafy greens, try blending them and incorporating the leafy greens into smoothies, soups, pasta sauces, or in this case— pancakes!

Pancakes are often a breakfast staple and are well-liked by kids because of their sweet taste. Take advantage of this knowledge by applying the Flavor-Favor Learning technique. This is done by pairing a new flavor with a flavor that is already familiar and well-liked. Serving the new food (malunggay) in a familiar dish (pancake) is a good example of the application of the Flavor-Flavor Learning technique. Or as Mary Poppins says, “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” Another name for this technique is the “Ketchup Effect” since ketchup as a dipping sauce makes food more palatable.

Vegetables may not be the food of choice for some kids, but they are very nutritious and are worth exploring even for picky eaters.  Feeding kids delicious green colored foods can destigmatize vegetables from being “yucky” to “yummy”. 

Malunggay is more popular as a lactating woman’s best friend since it aids in the production of vitamin-rich breast milk, but malunggay isa actually very nourishing for people of different genders and ages. It is calcium-, iron-, fiber- and protein-rich.

Blending malunggay into the pancake batter adds additional nutritional value to this food. Plus it may result in gradual liking of greens because of increased exposure and familiarity. Remember to be patient during this process. It may take time for your child to accept this new food, but it will certainly be worth the effort!


¾ cup oats
1 very ripe banana
½ up malunggay leaves
¼ cup coconut cream
¾ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp chia seeds
Water/Plant-based milk
Fresh Fruits
Fruit Jam*


  1. Add oats, baking powder, salt, and chia seeds into the blender. Pulse until ground to a fine consistency.
  2. Add malunggay leaves, chopped ripe banana, and coconut cream into the blender. 
  3. Blend well. Add water or plant-based milk as necessary to achieve a less thick batter.
  4. Lightly coat a pan with oil and pour the pancake batter to about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
  5. Flip the pancakes to cook the other side.
  6. Garnish with fresh fruits and drizzle with fruit jam. Serve.

Servings: 12 to 16 mini pancakes
*berry chia jam: 1 cup berry purée + 1 Tbsp chia + 2 Tbsp maple syrup