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?

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Banana Protein Pancakes with Persimmon Topping

I was totally going to start this post apologetically, but then I remembered this article in Huffington Post about the 23 things women should to stop doing.  #sorrynotsorry

So instead I’m going to talk about how much I love pancakes, because all of a sudden I’m obsessed. Ok not really, I made them twice.  Once pumpkin style and now these guys…

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Really what I like about this is how full it keeps me.  For someone who often thinks about eating lunch at 11am, these pancakes made me not even think about food until 1pm.  Crazy, right?  I’m totally pleased.

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You should make these. Just saying…

Banana Protein Pancakes with Persimmon Topping

For Pancakes:
2 tbsp buckwheat flour
2 tbsp almond meal
3 tbsp protein powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of ginger
pinch of cinnamon1/2 banana, mashed (about 3 tbsp)
1 egg
4 tbsp milk (or almond milk)*

For Topping:
1 tsp butter
1 persimmon, diced
2 tbsp rum
pinch of ginger
pinch of cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add wet ingredients and stir to combine.  Heat a greased skillet over medium heat.  Spoon 2 tbsp of batter to form each pancakes. Once the top starts to bubble, flip over and cook an additional minute.  Plate and set aside.

Melt 1 tsp butter in a small skillet.  Add persimmon and spices cook a few minutes, tossing occasionally. Add rum and stir.  The liquid will steam and sizzle. Once it’s mostly evaporated, turn off and pour on top of pancakes.  Serve with maple syrup (optional).  This recipe makes 4-5 pancakes for 1 person.

*Note: the amount of milk necessary might vary depending on what type of protein powder you use. I used Spiru-tein which has a thickener in it.  If you use a different protein powder, you might need less liquid.

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Just to throw it out there, this persimmon topping would be totally awesome on the Pumpkin Protein Pancakes I made last week.  Just saying… get your antioxidant on with pumpkins and persimmons.

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Ok so enough about pancakes…

I go to Peru in two days and I’m totally not ready.  So much work has to be done. I haven’t packed. I’m not feeling ready.

This always happens to me.  I have mini anxiety attacks anytime I go anywhere.  Weird right?

How do you prep for a trip? Also, what’s your favorite pancake combo because I’m always looking for new tasty ways to switch up breakfast!

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Let me just tell you… these pancakes made my day magical.

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I started the day by running with Ms. Allison from Sweet Potato Bites.  That lady is faster than me (check out her running page!), so it’s awesome to keep up with her!

After the run, I wanted a good breakfast.  For the past few months, I’ve had a smoothie for breakfast pretty much everyday, but today I wanted something warm and Fall-like.  And we all know… Fall = Pumpkin.

All season, I’ve been avoiding pumpkin flavored foods, because honestly most of it just tastes fake.  I’m probably the only person in the world that doesn’t love the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.

So this morning, in my quest for a warm Fall breakfast, I had a bright idea.  Pumpkin pancakes with REAL pumpkin inside and on top.

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Pumpkinpalooza in a pancake.

So I started with an amazing stack of pancakes and then topped them with a mixture of pumpkin puree, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon and mace (with some water to thin it out).  Seriously delicious.  Please try it.  But first to make the pancakes…

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Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

2 tbsp buckwheat flour (spelt or all purpose works too)
2 tbsp almond meal
3 tbsp protein powder (I used Spiru-tein Vanilla Protein)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of ginger
pinch of mace
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 egg
4 tbsp pumpkin puree (plus extra for topping)
2-3 tbsp almond milk**

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, stir to combine.  Add dry ingredients and mix together.

Heat a large skillet and grease (with butter or non-stick spray).  Scoop 2 tbsp of batter to form each pancake.  Cook until it starts to bubble, then flip and cook an additional minute.

Serve with a mixture of pumpkin, maple syrup and spices or your favorite pancake topping.  This recipe makes 4 pancakes.

**The amount of almond milk might vary.  Spiru-tein protein powder has some sort of thickening agent in it that makes it thicken up, so if you use a different protein powder you might need less liquid.  Try adding a tbsp of liquid first and if you need more to thin out the batter, add more.  If your batter is too thin/runny, you’ll get flat pancakes so you want the batter to be a little thick.

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I seriously loved these pancakes.  The topping reminded me of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin butter.  Amazing.  But what I really love is that you get all the awesome health benefits of pumpkin, that you definitely don’t get from a Pumpkin Spice Latte (p.s. totally not trying to hate on the PSL! It’s just not for me).

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I’m seriously considering making a few batches of these and having them the next few mornings, reheated.  If they taste great reheated, I’ll let you know.

So tell me, what’s your favorite way to eat pumpkin this season? 

Aside from this healthy version, I love love love this Creamy Pumpkin Pie, but also Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  One day I won’t want to eat sugary things every.single.day…

P.S. 1 week til Peru!!!!

Vanilla Coconut Protein Pancakes

Brunch is totally mainstream these days, but I don’t think that was always true.  In the past ten years, we’ve become very familiar with brunch, sort of akin to how “googling” something or someone is totally normal.

I love brunch, the wonderful marriage of breakfast and lunch that often involves a tasty libation.  I’m totally on-board.  What I wish would gain great popularity is Brinner.  I have no idea if that’s actually a term, but let’s go with it.

Brinner, the happy marriage of breakfast and dinner.  AKA Breakfast for Dinner.  It should most definitely be a thing.

But you should probably know I have this thing where I think breakfast should be healthy.  It’s the first meal of the day and you should probably start it off on the right foot.  For me, it’s usually a smoothie with banana, mango, spinach, kale and protein powder.  I drink it on my way to work, and it keeps me full for a long time without feeling sluggish.

So if we’re having breakfast for dinner, that doesn’t mean we have to go crazy and eat tons of bacon, pancakes and eggs drenched in maple syrup.  That’s ok sometimes, but for days like today, let’s keep it light and full of protein.

Now, all that aside, what is more beautiful than a stack of pancakes?

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Well… a stack of these pancakes…

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Vanilla Coconut Protein Pancakes

2 tbsp spelt flour
2 tbsp almond meal
3 tbsp protein powder (I used Garden of Life Raw Vanilla Protein)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp chia seeds
1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
1 egg
2-4 tbsp almond milk

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Then add wet ingredients (start with 2 tbsp of almond milk and add more accordingly.  Every protein powder is different so to avoid getting batter that’s too thin, adjust accordingly) and stir together. 

Heat a pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour 2 tbsp of batter to form each pancake.  Cook a few minutes. Once it starts to bubble on top, flip and cook an additional minute or two. 

You’ll get exactly 4 pancakes if you measure (and use a spatula to scrape the bowl). Serve with you toppings of choice. 

I served it with some extra coconut and a maple syrup/yogurt combo (2-3 tbsp greek yogurt + 1 tbsp maple syrup + water to thin it out).  Deeeelish.

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Nutrition-wise, they’re not too bad either.

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There’s almost 30 grams of protein in there!  Note: these stats are only for the pancakes, not any of the toppings. The fat comes mostly from the almond meal and coconut.  But don’t be scared of fat!  It does a body good.

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Ok so please tell me you’re going to help me make Brinner a thing and tell everyone about these protein pancakes.  Yes!

Do you ever do breakfast for dinner?  What’s your favorite Brinner item?