6 Ways to Make Pancakes Healthier

Gluten-Free Banana-Coconut Pancakes Photo © Con Poulos
By Kristin Donnelly Posted November 29, 2014

Starting the day with added fiber and protein will help prevent the sugar jolt and crash, giving you more sustained energy throughout the day. Here are six ways to turn your pancakes into power food.

For some of us, plain-old pancakes are an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. But starting the day with added fiber and protein will help prevent the sugar jolt and crash, giving you more sustained energy throughout the day. Here are six ways to turn your pancakes into power food.

1. Add whole grains
Swap out some of the white flour for whole-wheat, rye or buckwheat. (You might need to increase the liquid because whole-grain flours are thirstier.) You could also add polenta, oats or cooked whole grains to give them extra fiber.

2. Add nut meal
For a boost of healthy fat and protein, substitute finely ground almonds, walnuts or other nuts for some of the flour. You can buy some nut flours premade or grind your own in a food processor. Just add a tablespoon of flour to prevent the nut flour from turning into nut butter.

3. Add fruit
The surest way to up the antioxidant quotient of your pancakes is to add blueberries (duh) but don’t stop there: Try raspberries or sliced strawberries, peaches or bananas. (Frozen fruit works perfectly in the winter.)

4. Add vegetables.
No, no, we’re not going to suggest you sneak kale to your pancakes, unless you’re going savory. But squash or parsnip puree or quickly cooked grated carrots are delicious in a sweeter-style pancake; just fold them right into the batter.

5. Add seeds
Seeds offer fiber and protein along with healthy fats. Tiny seeds, like poppy, chia or flax work best. If you soak the chia seeds first, you can use them as an egg substitute. (For 1 egg, grind 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and soak in 3 tablespoons of water.)

6. Make them gluten-free.
Are gluten-free pancakes healthier? That depends. If they include fiber-rich ingredients, like brown rice and coconut flour, then yes. Though all-white gluten-free flour pancakes are hardly healthier than the original, this version is no less delicious. At least there’s that.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Healthy Snack Recipes
Supercharged Breakfast Recipes
Whole Grain Breakfasts

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