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.

pancakebreakfast

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?

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30 Day Paleo Challenge: Day 2

It’s only been two days, but I think during the week, this challenge won’t be that bad for a few reasons:

  1. I have a schedule, and I’m busy at work.  That means I’m not sitting at home boredom eating.  Most days I look at the clock around 12:30 and think How is it past noon already?  Time flies.
  2. I’m totally ok with eating the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch.

I had yogurt, banana and almond butter every single day for months.  Having a paleo pancake and a green smoothie is perfectly fine by me.  You’ll probably get tired of reading about it before I get tired of eating it.

paleopancake

Day 2 lunch was pretty similar to Day 1, and Day 3 (today) will be exactly the same as Day 2.

lunch

Ground Turkey with leftover sweet potato “home fries” and cabbage with lime and salt (I love this combo! My mom made it all the time when I was little and I’ve loved it ever since).  I also packed an apple, some strawberries and some cuties.

My strategy is to overpack snacks to avoid having one of those moments where I feel like eating the world but there’s nothing healthy/paleo to eat.  So far it’s been fine, I ended up only eating one of the cuties and had the apple after dinner.

For dinner, I was at my sister’s house, because my nephew is just so stinkin’ cute it was time to pay them a visit.

After Graham had his dinner of breastmilk (or formula? I actually have no idea), we had shrimp with butternut squash.  Pretty tasty.

So that way Day 2.  Let’s hope Day 3 goes as well as the past two.  I have a potentially EPIC dinner planned tonight.  Or it might be meh.  I’ll keep you posted!

30 Day Paleo Challenge: The Countdown and a Paleo Pancake

It’s Friday!!!

The challenge officially starts on Monday

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But the last few days I’ve been easing into it.

Breakfast was full paleo this morning.

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Green Smoothie + Paleo Pancake+ Almond Butter + Coffee

Let’s talk about the Paleo Pancake.

paleopancake

I discovered this on Carrots N Cake a while back and have been eating it for a few months.  I’ve seen it around the web as well, but I finally found the combo (and method!) that I think is the tastiest.

Paleo Pancake

3/4 of a banana large banana (or 1 small)*
1 egg
splash of vanilla extract

Slice the banana and put it in the magic bullet cup.  Crack the egg in there as well.  Add the vanilla.  Blend until smooth.  Alternatively you can mash the banana and just mix it in a bowl, but I found that the magic bullet really made it smoother and tastier.

Heat a small skillet (sprayed with a bit of cooking spray) over medium heat.  Add the batter and turn the flame to low, cover with lid.  Cook about 3-4 minutes until you shake it and it no longer giggles (it takes a bit of time).  Flip and cook for an additional minute or two.  Turn onto a plate and slather with almond butter!  Delish!

*the other 1/4 of your banana can just be sliced on top or used in a green smoothie!  I found that if you put too much banana then your banana to egg ratio is off and the pancake breaks.  I’ve also tried with 2 eggs and that just tastes too eggy to me, but try it if you’d like!

I used to think my Magic Bullet was totally useless, but now I’m finding new uses for it!

Also I should note… Please please please don’t expect this to taste like a regular pancake.  That’s just impossible.  But it is tasty and definitely worth a try!  Not to mention that it kept me full for a really long time.

For lunch, I packed some spinach salad with peppers, pickles and avocado, left over rotisserie chicken, and cuties.

paleolunch

There were food trucks parked outside my office building

But I passed that up, not only in anticipation of the Paleo Challenge but because…

For dinner, I’m headed out.  I semi-feel like I’m going out of mainstream eating with a bang.  This week is OC Restaurant week.  So I’m going to dinner to celebrate some friends’ birthdays at Newport Landing.

Surprisingly the thing I’m looking forward to is NOT dessert!  This Potato Wrapped Atlantic Salmon sounds aaaa-mazing.

What’s on your agenda for the night?