Pancakes are the ultimate breakfast comfort food and a Sunday morning staple in many households. But now that many of us are looking to eat a little healthier in the new year, do we need to strike the short stack from the menu? Absolutely not, says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of "Smoothies & Juices."
"We make pancakes a lot in our house, so I’m always looking for ways to level up the health factor," she told TODAY Food. "One easy way to do that with any pancake is to top them with fresh fruit, like berries or fresh figs for extra fiber and antioxidants." Largeman-Roth also keeps nut butter on the table, which adds protein and healthy fat and helps you feel fuller than pancakes normally do. "Chopped walnuts are another thing that’s always on our table because they add fiber and heart healthy plant-based omega-3 ALA fatty acids, plus they taste delicious," she said.
When it comes to syrup, skip the fake, sugar-free kind. "We always have real maple syrup," she said, adding that the "pancake syrup" you see on the shelves is nothing but corn syrup with caramel coloring.
Make your pancake batter healthier
Largeman-Roth said there are plenty of ways you can make pancake batter healthier.
"You can simply take your favorite batter and add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds or hemp seeds for some ALA omega-3s," she said. "Or you can get super healthy and make buckwheat pancakes, which are higher in fiber. Buckwheat is actually not wheat at all and is gluten-free."
If you’re looking to cut down on refined carbs, you can always make pancakes out of something besides grain. Largeman-Roth suggests her butternut squash pancakes, which use steamed butternut and almond flour as the base. "They’re delicious!" she said. "And you can also easily add some extra fiber and iron to your pancakes by blending the batter in the blender with two large handfuls of washed baby spinach. It’s a gorgeous color and they are super fun for St. Patty’s Day!"
If you’re looking for something that’s healthier, but still feels like a treat, make your batter with wheat flour. "I use Flourish because it has more prebiotic flour than regular wheat flour, mixed with almond flour, plus mashed bananas for a pancake that tastes like banana bread," she said. "It’s up to you if you want to add chocolate chips." (Of course you do!)
Read on for some healthy pancake recipes that deserve a spot on your breakfast table.
This one-sheet wonder is fit to serve a crowd and can be topped with anything you like!
These yummy pancakes will leave you feeling worlds better than traditional starchy flapjacks.
Quick, healthy and oh-so delicious, try topping these babies with some Greek yogurt and granola.
These flapjacks are loaded with protein and fiber and the banana adds just the right amount of sweetness.
Pancakes that look this pretty and can be eaten hand-held on the go are a winner any day of the week!
The hearty oats in this recipe make this recipe tasty and filling.
Fiber-rich ingredients like oats and chia make this one a hit.
Serve these pancakes for brunch or as a unique side dish.
A scoop of protein powder in these pancakes will keep your energy up until lunchtime!
Yes, even chocolate chip pancakes can be made healthier when Joy Bauer is at the griddle!