Pancakes! They’re so easy to make for an easy brunch or even for dinner on hot nights when you’re sick of barbequing but can’t face turning your oven on. With a base made of not much more than flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, milk and oil (don’t buy the boxed stuff — you can do this yourself), pancakes are also an inexpensive meal, albeit not a particularly nutritious one.
So, how do you have your cakes and eat healthy too? Here are five ways to boost the nutritional value of your pancakes so that you don’t feel quite as guilty next time you whip a batch up for dinner:
- Add fruit
Pancakes are pretty carb-laden, but you can add some extra nutritional content with whatever fruit you happen to have on hand. Things like blueberries work well if you mix them right into the pancake batter, or you can slice up some fruit and serve it on top of the pancakes. Peaches, bananas, plums, strawberries, or blackberries are all good choices. If you have some extra time you can cook down the fruit to soften it or make a quick fruit sauce or syrup — just be careful about adding too much extra sugar.
- Use whole-wheat flour
Whole-wheat flour will change the colour and flavour of your pancakes, but it also adds a significant boost of fibre. You may find that you actually like the flavour — if you’re already used to eating whole-wheat bread, it won’t be too much of a jolt. If you’re not ready to go all the way, you can also just substitute half of your regular white flour for whole-wheat. Additions like buckwheat, flax seed, and other high-fibre grains will also up the nutrition of your pancakes.
- Add yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese
Healthy dairy products like yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese can give your pancakes a lift. Look for recipes that also incorporate fruit or nuts for extra flavour and nutritional value.
- Opt for savoury pancakes
If you’re taking the breakfast-for-dinner route, you may want to create a more complete meal by incorporating savoury ingredients into your pancakes. Shredded carrot, avocado, sweet potato, corn, pumpkin, zucchini, and meat can all be used with pancakes (in the batter or as toppings, depending on what you’re doing). Cook up some eggs to put on top or on the side and you’ve got yourself a fairly balanced meal.
- Ditch the flour altogether
Pancakes without flour? Yes, it’s a thing. If you want to cut carbs and go with a fruit-based pancake, using mashed banana as a base. There are many recipes like this one for “two ingredient” banana pancakes (the other ingredient is eggs), which have become quite the rage among those looking to cut their carbs.