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9 ways to make pancakes healthier
Pancakes are fairly new on the menu in our house. I grew up eating a couple of these with a side of scrambled eggs as a child and yearned for the day when I could share weekend breakfasts with my kids since my husband could careless about an AM meal. But I patiently waited almost three years…and after his tonsils came out and he felt like eating…my son Jai was throwing back 6 or 7 of these bad boys a day! I was happy he was eating anything after surgery but was pysched that he finally developed a taste for and asked me for pancakes! Soon after, my other little guy turned one and instead of a traditional cake…on the morning of, I decided to make him a ‘pan-birthday-cake’.
After the first not so sure bite, he was hooked.
And since then, we are enjoying some yummy breakfasts of pancakes in this house.
Needless to say, pancakes from a box are easy but aren’t the most nutritious and dousing them in sugary syrup isn’t exactly the best way to start the day. Because my boys are enjoying them so much, I knew I had to figure out ways to make them a little better. Here are 9 ways to make pancakes just a little healthier for your family.
The best way is to make your own pancake mix since the ready-made stuff is usually full of nasties. Here’s the recipe I swear by. 2 cups of whole wheat flour (I even love almond flour for a gluten-free version) + 2 table spoons finely ground raw sugar + 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon salt. That’s your dry pancake mix. To that you can add 1 cup low fat (or full fat) yogurt + 1 cup non-fat/whole organic milk (or buttermilk) + 2 large farm fresh, free range, organic eggs (or egg substitute like a mashed banana). Mix well and add more milk if needed to thin out. It’s that easy!!
Add fresh fruits/nuts to the batter. To the batter above, I mix in lots fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries (natural antioxidants) and chopped bananas. I add in walnuts, toasted pecans and ground almonds in as well. Fruits add in lots of fiber and nuts provide a good dose of protein.
Add instant oats to the mix. Oatmeal makes pancakes so chewy and soft, adding in lots of fiber and protein.
Flax seeds also add in protein and a nutty taste.
If you want to leave out the sugar from a recipe, simply sub in mashed sweet potatoes. I just eyeball it – sorry don’t have exact measurements. But recently, I added in two tablespoons of potato to batter which yielded 4 large pancakes. These pancakes will be a beautiful golden color, they are slightly sweet and incredibly moist. My boys love them.
Skip the syrup. I never introduced that high fructose corn syrup with artificial maple flavoring to my kids. We don’t even use the real deal maple syrup. Sometimes, we just add more fruit on top or a sprinkle of cinnamon. Most of the time they eat them plain with a little melted REAL butter. Local organic honey or a dollop of greek yogurt (look for the maple flavor) is another great option. If you must use syrup, then remember to get the real stuff.
For recipes that call for oil, replace with applesauce. It’s same to same ratio…if you need 1/4 cup oil then use 1/4 cup applesauce. You can achieve the same moist, fluffy stack of cakes without it. Be sure to look for the no sugar added applesauce.
Use REAL butter in your pan. Don’t use sprays or margarine. Butter is a great source of essential fatty acids and other minerals/vitamins.
Or use coconut oil as an alternative. It works great and adds in a nice coconut flavor too.