The eternal struggle for parents is to get their kids to eat high-nutrient foods. As adults we manage to swallow our kale salad and drink our green smoothie, but that's not always the case for our 2-, 6-, or even 14-year-old!
As a mom of three boys who have severe food allergies (dairy, gluten, eggs) and can't eat processed foods of any kind, I had to find a way to get them to eat from the garden and like it.
Here's one of my tricks: Let them eat cake (and ice pops!)
These three dessert recipes are not only family favorites, but they are also vegan, gluten-free, and filled with powerful nutrients. What's more, they are great treats to bring to a birthday party or barbecue—people won't even notice that they're not eating the real-deal, high-calorie, artery-clogging original!
Chocolate Beet Cake:
Why beets? They contain a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, and improve vascular risk factors.
They contain high immune-boosting vitamin C and essential minerals like potassium and manganese. They also help detox and stimulate the function of the liver. Vitamin B folate is in abundance. (Be sure to choose organic ingredients whenever possible!)
- 1 cup buckwheat flour (preferably ground fresh in a blender from raw buckwheat groats)
- 1 cup millet flour (preferably ground fresh in a blender from raw millet )
- 3 chia seed eggs: 3 tablespoons whole chia seeds soaked in 9 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups coconut crystals (coconut sugar) or raw sugar cane
- ¾ cup extra-virgin coconut oil at room temp
- 4 small to medium-size beets, peeled and steamed (makes about 1¾ cup beet puree)
- ¼ cup raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, vanilla powder, or 8 to 10 drops vanilla essential oil
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. To make the flour, measure 1 cup of buckwheat groats, add to a high-speed blender like Blendtec or Vitamix, and blend until a dry flour powder is formed. Do the same with 1 cup of millet.
2. Peel and steam the beets, then puree them in the blender, adding the chia "eggs," oil, sugar, vanilla. Blend, then add all other ingredients and blend to completely mix. Add a little bit of water if you need it to blend evenly.
3. Bake in a 9-by-13-inch pan greased with coconut oil or sunflower lecithin for 30 minutes. Or you can make cupcakes and bake for 25 minutes.
4. For frosting I use cashew cream or a raw chocolate frosting recipe (recipes below).
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked, drained, and rinsed (or macadamia nuts)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (add more if you prefer sweeter)
- ¼ cup sweetened vanilla almond milk (blend raw soaked almonds with maple syrup or honey)
Combine all ingredients and blend together. Add a little water if necessary.
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- ½ cup raw honey
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup water
- pinch of salt
Whisk ingredients together until well-combined.
Mango Cupcakes (or Pancakes):
Mangos are rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E. They are also high in fiber. If you don't like mangos, you can really use any fruit you want. I have made it with bananas, pears, apples, and blueberries.
Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain that's rich in magnesium, fiber, and full of powerful antioxidants including phenolics and phosphorus, and high in digestible proteins, anti-inflammatory properties, and zinc.
- 2 cups buckwheat groats
- 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
- 1 cup dates (If you want to use raw honey instead, add less water.)
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 to 2½ cups organic mango (or your choice of fruit)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice or sauerkraut juice
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 2 to 2½ cups water
1. Blend 2 cups of buckwheat groats and 2 tablespoons flaxseeds. Place in a mixing bowl.
2. Blend dates, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, then add to mixing bowl with buckwheat and flax.
3. Blend in mango, lime juice, walnuts, and water in a blender/Vitamix. Add to the mixing bowl with other ingredients and stir.
4. If it's too thick, add water or more fruit puree. If it's too thin, add some hemp seeds and raw shredded coconut. I pour the batter into cupcake liners, bread pans, or make pancakes with it. They are great to put in the freezer to pull out on hectic days.
For pancakes, I make the batter a little thinner. If it's cupcakes, I make it a little thicker and add cashew frosting to top it off.
What child doesn't love ice pops? Come to think of it, what adult doesn't? My family loves these high-nutrient ice pops bursting with vitamins. I love them too—they take at most 5 minutes to make, so you can make a bunch of different-flavored ones for different days.
Lime Ice Pops
Kids love these lime ice pops, and this is how I get my kids to eat the undervalued superfood parsley! They're loaded with glutathione that helps support and cleanse the kidneys and liver. Parsley also helps with heavy metal detoxification and cleanses the blood.
Blend: 1 bunch of parsley, 2 tablespoons of raw honey, and 3 limes with 5 cups of water.
Optional: Add strawberries or raspberries. Taste for sweetness. When they're ready to go, pour into ice pop molds, freeze, and voilà!
Pineapple Ice Pops
Pineapple is high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Kale has vitamins K, A, C; fiber; and many antioxidants.
Wild blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants (much more than the regular kind); look for them in your local health food store freezer section.
Blend: 1 cup wild blueberries, 3 stalks kale, and 1½ cups pineapple; add water to cover the fruit. Blend in a blender. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze.
Berry Ice Pops
Strawberries have folic acid and vitamin C. Spirulina is a celebrated form of algae that's full of iron, protein, B12, and other essential minerals. It's also said to help detoxify the body of heavy metals.
Blend: 2 cups =strawberries, 2 cups wild blueberries, and 1 tablespoon Hawaiian spirulina.
Tropical Ice Pops
Coconut water is filled with electrolytes and minerals for the body, and, in combination with mango and pineapple's vitamins create a supercharged ice pop.
Blend: 2 cups coconut water, 2 cups fresh or frozen mango, and 1 cup pineapple.