Healthier Pancake Toppings and Options

With my series of overindulgent posts as of recent, I feel the need to balance out the calories and cholesterol with something a little bit healthier: Pancakes.

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That’s not a joke.  I totally think pancakes can be healthy.  You just have to know how to do them. As a kid, I hated pancakes.  I always thought they tasted funny.  Then something magical happened, I tried IHOP’s pancakes and I loved them.   That’s when I realized what I hated was Bisquick pancakes.  That’s all my mom ever made.  Sorry mom, but bisquick is just gross. When I discovered my love of pancakes, I wanted to eat them all the time.   While we all know pancakes aren’t always the healthiest breakfast, there are ways to lighted up your pancakes and especially the toppings so they’re still fun and delicious but won’t undo your workout. Here are a few ways to keep your pancakes a little on the healthier side so you can enjoy them guilt-free. peachpureepancakes2text

Choose a Better Pancake Base

Pancakes can basically be a carb fest (nothing wrong with that), but if you’re looking to balance your meal, adding protein powder is a great start.  I’m a big fan of protein pancakes because the extra protein helps keep you full.

Some of my favorites are:

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Vanilla Coconut Protein Pancakes
Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
Banana Protein Pancakes

The fun part of protein pancakes is you can play with different flours and protein powders and find a mix that you love.

If making your own pancakes from scratch isn’t your thing or you’re really not looking to add some extra protein, there are some pancake mixes that are pretty natural and overall healthy.  I love Kodiak Cakes, because they’re super easy to make (just add water) and the ingredients are all natural.

You could also go the Paleo Pancake route.  It’s not exactly a pancake but still pretty darn tasty.

Lighten Up Your Toppings

When I was younger, I ate the regular old pancake syrup you get at the grocery store.  Nowadays, I try to stick with toppings that don’t have any chemicals or artificial sweeteners.  Straight up maple syrup is a little too intense for me, so generally I like to mix it up to create different types of syrups and sauces and toppings.

My latest obsession is fruit purees mixed with maple syrup.

I like to puree some fresh peaches and mixed it with maple syrup… about 2 tbsp peach puree + 1 tbsp of maple syrup for one person.  You can also just puree the fruit and skip the maple syrup.  I tried that with banana (simmered them in water first, but raw works) and it was awesome:

pancakesbananasyrupMy other favorite combo is plain greek yogurt with maple syrup.

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But in general, fruit is a great topping.  It helps bulk up the volume without adding as many calories as eating extra pancakes.  Berries are always a great addition…

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But you can also get creative, like topping your pancakes with persimmon!

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 Portion Control

I love a big stack of pancakes.  Mostly because it looks pretty, but also because it’s fun to eat.  But eating 4 or 5 full sized pancakes is a lot.  So what I do is I made them smaller!  That way I feel like I’m eating a lot but really I’m not.

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I generally use a tbsp measurer to prepare my pancakes.  Each pancake is composed of 2 tbsp of batter, instead of about 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) which is normal.

In the photo above, the banana slices show how the pancakes are actually pretty small.  Despite the fact that the portion size is smaller, I still feel like I’m getting a good amount of pancakes.

 

I’m all for eating a full stack of pancakes with butter and maple syrup every once a while.  But on a normal day basis, I like to keep it a bit lighter.  Pancakes can still be enjoyed if you’re trying to stay healthy.  It’s just about making sure you make the right choices.

What’s your favorite way to slim down your pancakes?

Mocha Protein Cupcakes

Yesterday, I took Jesse to the airport.  He’s off to New York for almost 3 weeks for a training course.  I hate to be that girl, but I miss him already.  So in the meantime, I plan on baking a lot.  Because baking makes the world a little bit better.

After I did my search for the best protein powder, Garden of Life sent me some more of their flavors to try: Garden of Life RAW Protein Marley Coffee and Raw Fit.

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I automatically fell in love with the Raw Fit, because it kept me so full for so long, but I had a hard time with the Marley Coffee flavor.

Given that I’m a coffee fiend, I thought I would love the coffee flavor, but I’m going to be honest, I didn’t love the flavor on its own.  So instead of devouring the Marley Coffee flavor like I did the Raw Fit in my usual breakfast smoothies, I’ve been trying to find other delicious ways to use the Marley Coffee Protein and here’s my most recent creation.

mochaproteincupcakestextIt’s no secret I have a ridiculous sweet-tooth, it’s also no secret that I generally try to balance it out with healthy eats.  So I decided to try to combine my love of sweets with a dose of healthiness.  These cupcakes don’t contain any butter or refined sugar and each one has 7g of protein and only 125 calories.  Drizzled with a bit of almond butter, they’re the perfect healthy-ish treat.

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Mocha Protein Cupcakes

1 medium banana, mashed
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup Garden of Life Marley Coffee Raw Protein
1/2 cup almond meal1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat over to 350F.

Mix together mashed banana, almond butter, maple syrup, egg and almond milk.  Add cocoa powder, protein power, almond meal, baking soda, baking power and salt.  Stir to combine.  Pour batter into 11-12 lined cupcake pan.  I got 11 cupcakes out of this.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

mochaproteincupcakes2You can eat them plain, top them with whipped cream or drizzle them with almond butter.  What I really loved about these cupcakes, other than the awesome nutrition stats:

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Was the texture.  They’re light and crumbly like a good cupcake should be.  The coffee flavor isn’t ultra strong, honestly these taste more like great chocolate cupcakes.  After all, it’s pretty common to add coffee to chocolate baked goods for flavor.  This protein added that perfect hint of coffee flavor that makes chocolate baked good extra delicious.

mochaproteincupcakes3So if you’re looking for a healthy cupcake, this is the one for you.  Be sure to check back later this week, I have some great things planned for you all!

 

**Note: Garden of Life provided me with the Raw Fit and Marley Coffee RAW Protein, but the opinions are my own.