Getting Creative with Comfort Food: Healthy Pancakes

Pancakes are a great way to start your day. They’re simple, nostalgic, and smell incredible when they’re being made. Most importantly, they’re a good excuse to get your hands on breakfast syrup. If you’re on a diet or just watching your calorie intake, sugary pancakes are a great way to derail your day. Two pancakes with butter and syrup can have up to 520 calories, while one seven inch diameter pancake can have as much as seven grams of sugar (roughly two teaspoons and nearly half the average women’s suggested total). If you’re a pancake-lover but want to avoid the fattening downsides, don’t despair! There’s a few ways you can make healthy pancakes without compromising on flavor!

Swap Out the Flour

One of the simplest ways to decrease the calorie count of your pancakes is to ditch the processed all-purpose flour for a healthier variety. Some alternatives will have extra protein, fewer carbohydrates, or simply more nutrients, like nut flours/meals or oats. If you do go with one of these heartier alternatives, make sure to experiment with them a bit, since they all have their own unique textures and flavors.

Some alternatives will have extra protein, fewer carbohydrates, or simply more nutrients, like nut flours/meals or oats.

For this reason, we’re suggesting you try whole wheat flour first. It’s probably the closest option to all-purpose flour that still maintains a similar texture. The difference is that whole wheat flour has more fiber, protein, and nutrients than all-purpose since it’s less processed. Whole wheat flour tends to make heavier baked goods and may need more liquid, so it’s not normally a one-to-one ratio. Usually, you’ll only need 75 percent of whole wheat than you would need with all-purpose.

Sneak in Some Greek (Yogurt)

Another way you can add more nutrients to your pancakes is to replace some of the milk with Greek yogurt. Not only does Greek yogurt contain more protein and other nutrients, it also boasts an impressive amount of probiotics. Comparatively, milk is high in calcium (something also found in Greek yogurt), but also high in calories, fat, and sugars. While some milk is necessary to ensure the batter is the proper consistency, we can replace some of the milk with Greek yogurt.

Since there is less moisture in Greek yogurt, compared to milk, you’ll need to account for this.

Luckily, this swap is pretty easy to make. Since there is less moisture in Greek yogurt, compared to milk, you’ll need to account for this. To do so, it’s not a straight one-to-one switch, much like whole wheat flour. Instead, the Greek yogurt will allow us to cut the amount of milk we need by roughly a quarter, while adding substance to the finished pancakes and making them more filling.

Replace Sugar with Flavor

As is a bit of a theme on Medicareful Living, finding ways to replace some of the unhealthy sources of sugar in our diet is a great way to start your weight loss journey. Well, as we noted earlier, pancakes are a massive source of sugar, through a combination of sugar in the batter and the syrup. The best way to do this is to replace the sugar with some sort of extra flavor. If you want healthy bonus points, go with fruits instead of the tried and true chocolate chips (just more processed sugar).

Not only are blueberries tasty, they’re really healthy for you, especially your brain.

While chopped strawberries or bananas are popular, it’s hard to look past adding blueberries. Not only are blueberries tasty, they’re really healthy for you, especially your brain. We’ve even called blueberries great starter fruits for people who are normally carnivores. Blueberries are also simple to add to pancakes, since they’re just about the right size. The easiest way is to just wash them and mix them into your batter. This can lead to too many blueberries in a pancake, though. Instead, pour out the batter and place a few washed blueberries into the batter so that they’re evenly spaced and not overcrowding the batter.

print

Medicareful “Hacked” Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup of vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup of 2% milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of sugar

Direction

  1. Mix all wet ingredients (milk, yogurt, and egg) in a bowl
  2. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar), whisking to remove lumps
  3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until it creates a batter
  4. If the batter is too thick, add milk 1 tbsp at a time until it’s the correct consistency
  5. If the batter is too thin, add whole wheat flour 1 tbsp at a time until it’s the correct consistency
  6. With butter or cooking spray, grease a skillet or electric griddle over medium heat
  7. Pour a ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet, sprinkling some blueberries to each pancake
  8. Watch the batter, because once you notice the bubbles in the batter begin to pop, it’s time to flip
  9. After flipping, don’t press on the pancake, since this can flatten the pancake, making it denser
  10. Once both sides have browned, remove the pancakes from the skillet, cleaning off the skillet between batches
  11. Repeat until you’ve used all the batter
  12. Serve with a reasonable amount of syrup and enjoy!

Further Reading

Medicareful Living — 3 Quick Healthy Breakfasts to Get Your Day Going
Medicareful Living — The Importance of a Good Breakfast