11 Ways to Give Pancakes a Healthy Makeover

11 Ways to Give Pancakes a Healthy Makeover

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Pancakes are so delicious, but so unhealthy, right? Wrong. These healthy pancake make-overs aren’t your mother’s white flour pancakes. They’re packed with healthy goodness, so you can still enjoy pancakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner without feeling guilty.

Make your pancakes healthier by trying these tips:

People enjoy pancakes all around the world. But they have different names across the globe. In the United States, we might call them flapjacks. Australians call them pikelets/ The French enjoy a thinner cake, crepes. To create a pancake, you need flour, a liquid, and some leavening agent. They’re cooked in a pan or on a griddle and flipped to cook them on both sides.

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Once you understand how the ingredients in pancakes work together, it’s easy to substitute alternative flours and ingredients in the batter. Whether you’re mixing up savory pancakes or fruity ones, the possibilities are endless.

1 – Flour substitutes

Binding agents hold your pancakes together. Flour and eggs are traditional binders. The flour also adds taste, texture, and volume to your recipe. Flour, whole grain flours, and gluten-free flours are packed with proteins. Also, starch is essential to give your pancakes structure and fats for flavor.

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Flours that are low in protein have less gluten, while flours with high protein have more. If you’re making pancakes without wheat, you’ll need to use a mixture of high- and low-level protein flours. So, gluten-free flour blends should be around 70% high protein flour to 30% lower protein or a high starch flour. You can also add extra eggs to the pancake recipe to help give your pancakes more structure. If you add extra eggs, be sure to reduce the liquid a bit, say by two tablespoons.

2 – Almond flour

Almond flour doesn’t have gluten, so you’ll need to add extra eggs if you use this kind of flour in your pancake recipe.

3 – Amaranth flour

Amaranth flour is also a healthy flour substitute. It has more protein than most gluten-free flour and even more than whole wheat flour. It has a nutty flavor. In a pancake recipe, combine it with another flour in a 1 part amaranth flour to 3 parts other flour. You can substitute 1 cup of amaranth flour to replace 1 cup of wheat flour.

4 – Oat flour

Oat flour doesn’t contain gluten. It makes your pancakes moist and tender. Because oat flour is dense, it’s important to combine it with another flour so the pancakes will rise.

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 5 – Binder and leavening agents

If you’re making gluten-free pancakes, you’ll need to add xanthan or guar gum for binding, structure, and elasticity in your pancakes. Another good binder is eggs. Besides giving structure and being a binder to your pancake batter, eggs also act as a leavening when they’re beaten with sugar and butter.

If you don’t eat eggs, you can use mashed bananas to replace them. Baking powder and baking soda are also good leavening agents for your pancake batter. Use 1 teaspoon of baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to leaven one cup of flour in your pancake recipe.

 6 – Buttermilk or yogurt

Buttermilk and yogurt are acidic ingredients that help pancakes stay moist and tender. These ingredients also add some leavening to your pancakes. Baking soda and buttermilk do well together but don’t substitute buttermilk for regular milk. It will flatten out your pancakes.

7 – Plant-based milk

Plant-based milk is a perfect substitute for regular cow milk. You can use the same amount of plant-based milk in your pancake recipes as you would regular milk. You can use rice, almond, soy, or cashew milk in your pancake recipes for added nutrition and taste. Just be aware that some plant-based milk will add extra flavor. You can create buttermilk using plant-based milk.

Plant-based buttermilk: To make 1 cup of soy milk, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir and let stand for five minutes. Then add to your pancake batter.

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8 – Healthy fruit toppings for your pancakes

What is a pancake without some toppings? These healthy topping ideas fill the bill, giving you good nutrition, but without compromising flavor.

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Any fresh, organic fruit adds extra nutrition to your pancakes. The list is endless, but these are especially tasty and good for you.

  • Blueberries, raspberries
  • Sliced bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Apples
  • Pomegranate
  • Mango

9 – Dark chocolate

Yep, dark chocolate is the real deal to boost your pancake makeover. Dark chocolate helps fight inflammation, balance your blood sugar, and increases the blood supply to your brain. Eating dark chocolate is thought to lower stress and help improve your memory so you can better focus.

10 – Turkey bacon

Leaner than pork bacon, turkey bacon is also lower in calories and fat. But, because it’s an animal product, you still get important vitamins and minerals such as zinc, selenium, and B vitamins. Cook the bacon, crumble it and add it to your pancake batter.

11 –  Add nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin E, phosphorus, and selenium. They’re packed with antioxidants that boost your immune system. They’re high in fat, but it’s the healthy kind of fat that helps lower your cholesterol. Chop, saute or process into healthy nut butter for pancake toppings.

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pine nuts
  • Cashews
  • Brazil nuts
  • Flaxseeds

12 – All-natural, organic maple syrup

Maple syrup gets a bad rap. This is mostly due to the fake maple syrup sold at many grocery stores that amount to nothing but sugar boiled in water. But a 2017 study found that dark-color maple syrup actually inhibits gastrointestinal cancer growth.

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Following ancient tradition, maple syrup is made by boiling the sap collected from sugar maple trees. Maple trees have been used for centuries by Native Americans as traditional medicines and tonics.

Maple syrup contains phenolic compounds that work as antioxidants, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating maple syrup hinders the growth of cancer cells.

Look for real, organic dark maple syrup at the grocery. Many fake maple syrups are made from dark corn syrup or brown sugar, which aren’t as healthy and don’t taste as good.

13 – Honey

Honey is a natural product produced by bees. Studies show that honey contains flavonoids and polyphenols, both antioxidants that can help treat conditions and diseases like diabetes, respiratory infection, gastrointestinal illness, and cancers. Be sure to buy real honey. There are some fake kinds of honey on the market made out of corn syrup. There are over 300 types of honey in the United States.

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The flavor and color come from the nectar source the bees visited. Here’s a short list of some different kinds of honey you can buy.

  • Acacia
  • Alfalfa
  • Avocado
  • Beechwood
  • Blueberry
  • Clover
  • Dandelion
  • Healthier
  • Macadamia
  • Orange blossom
  • Pinetree
  • Sage

14 – Make crepes instead of pancakes (they’re lighter!)

Crepes are traditionally thinner than pancakes. You usually create a filling for the inside of the crepe and then roll it up to eat. Crepes can be savory or sweet, depending upon your preference. Try these crepe filling ideas.

Crepe fillings:

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  • Spinach, feta cheese, and egg: Saute spinach in olive oil. Layer spinach, feta in the crepe, and top with an egg fried in olive oil. Delicious!
  • Cheese, egg, and bacon: Stick with tradition and create an egg, cheese, and turkey bacon filling for your crepe.
  • Vegetarian crepe filling: Saute spinach leaves, add parmesan cheese and walnuts. So yummy.
  • Sweet crepe filling: Saute cranberries, apple slices, lemon juice, and cinnamon for several minutes in a skillet with a teaspoon of plant butter. Pour the warm mixture onto your crepe and top with a little mascarpone. Yummy!
  • Fruit jam and ricotta: Mix any fruit jam with 1 cup of ricotta. Top with toasted almonds.

Weird but healthy pancake toppings

Maybe you’re a think outside of the box type of person when it comes to cooking. If so, you’ll love these crazy but genius pancake toppings ideas.

  • Sauteed mushrooms, shredded fresh Parmesan, and caramelized onions: Carmelize your onions, then sautee some mushrooms. Layer them onto your homemade pancake and top with fresh shredded Parmesan.
  • Homemade chili and grated Monterey jack cheese: Prepare your chili following any recipe you want. Pour a ½ cup of homemade chili onto your homemade crepe or pancake. Top with grated cheddar cheese.
  • Rotisserie chicken, cheese, and Granny Smith apples: Buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery. Shred the meat and warm in a skillet. Layer the shredded chicken onto your homemade pancake or crepe, then top with shredded cheddar cheese and diced Granny Smith apples.
  • Hawaiian flare: Top your homemade pancakes with crushed pineapples, diced macadamia nuts, and shredded coconut. Aloha!
  • Salmon and cream cheese: Buy ready to eat smoked salmon. Spread a tablespoon of cream cheese or alternative cream cheese on top of your homemade pancake or crepe.  Layer pieces of warmed smoked salmon on top. Amazing!

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Final Thoughts on Giving a Healthier Twist to Traditional Pancakes

Pancakes can be as healthy as you make them. Find a recipe you love, then top your amazing pancakes with super healthy toppings. If you like your pancakes thinner, cook up some crepes, and add delicious fillings. Or if you want to try zany pancake toppings, try one of the weird toppings, or make up your own. There’s no right or wrong way to create a healthy pancake makeover.

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