Healthy pancakes anyone?
Ahhhhh is there any such thing as healthy pancakes?
Well Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) is around the corner and the kids have been hot on their requests, so let’s hope so!
I’m bracing myself for some deep breathing as they cause chaos in the kitchen, distributing flour far and wide.
To be fair, the days of the really messy, apocalyptic cooking are over. At 15 and 12, they definitely are better at the clean-up. Still, we all know there’s a difference between mom “clean” and teen “clean”.
Fortunately we have Arloe the puppy who is a little vacuum when it comes to anything that lands on the floor; if she could anticipate events, she would be turning circles in excitement.
We don’t have a good record when it comes to pancake flipping, so the odds are stacked highly in her favour.
But how do we make these pancakes healthy? It’s almost impossible to avoid the syrup because, well, pancakes and syrup are just meant to be.
Do try and stay away from the Aunt Jemima and other corn syrup-based options though. If possible, choose something more natural such as maple syrup. It’s pricey I know, but there are huge price point variations between brands.
Any maple syrup will do! (Tip for parents – if your kids are incapable of pouring a small amount of syrup but still determined to pour their own, pre-pour an acceptable amount into a shot glass or similar and let them distribute it as they wish.)
Other than restricting/optimising your syrup, the next step is to ensure you cook pancakes that include lots of fibre.
Then, if they don’t already contain much protein, pair them with something like scrambled eggs and/or quality, lean, unsmoked, English-cut bacon. Protein helps to steady the sugar release from the pancakes, meaning less of an insulin spike and better, more sustained energy.
I’ve got two great recipes for you to try. The first is a vegan option using Bob’s Red Mill pancake mix. You simply replace the egg with chia seed, which binds just like the egg would and also provides some fibre, a little protein and some omega 3.
The second is the healthiest! It’s packed full of fibre (oats, banana) and includes protein powder for an extra boost. I have tried this with lots of different options and they have all worked.
My favourite is the Garden of Life, organic vegan sport protein available at Miles. I do love the Sun Warrior brand too (available widely).
Give these recipes a chance (especially the second one) as they’re so good and so much better for you. But if you do end up eating regular pancakes and drowning them in syrup, don’t forget to pair them with protein to help steady your blood sugar.
Gluten-free, vegan pancakes (serves 2)
Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pancake mix
Milk, plant-based and unsweetened
Light olive oil
1 tbsp chia seed
To serve: berries, maple syrup, eggs, lean bacon
1. Prepare the mix as per package directions using the suggested oils and your choice of milk. Leave out the egg and replace with the chia seed. Whisk together as per usual and add extra milk to compensate for the egg. (I add quite a lot extra as I prefer my pancakes less dense!) Allow to sit for a few minutes before cooking (this gives time for the seeds to become soft).
2. Heat a little extra oil in a pan over a medium heat. Drop the mixture in and cook until the base has turned golden and the top is set enough to flip. Flip and cook the reverse side.
3. Keep the pancakes warm as you cook the rest and serve with fresh berries, a little maple syrup and extra protein eg English-cut unsmoked bacon and/or organic scrambled eggs!
Protein pancakes (can be gluten-free and dairy-free; serves 2)
½ cup oats (gluten-free if need be)
1 banana, ripe
2 tbsps protein powder (I like Garden of Life Vegan Sport at Miles)
2 tbsps milk (unsweetened plant-based or dairy)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 large pinch cinnamon
Light olive oil
To serve: berries and a little maple syrup
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.
2. Heat your pan and drizzle with oil. Ladle in your mix and cook for one to two minutes until the surface of the underside is golden. Flip and repeat!
3. Serve with fresh or defrosted frozen berries – and a little maple syrup if you like.
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram
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