Ingredients You Can Add to Your Pancakes to Make Them Healthier (and More Delicious)

By Bembu

One thing just about everyone can agree on is that pancakes are delicious. They aren’t always good for us though, so a lot of people have cut them out of their diets in an attempt to start their day with a healthier food option. But there are ways to make pancakes healthy again by using ingredients that won’t add inches to your waistline or send your blood sugar levels soaring.

With a few adjustments, you can drop the refined sugar and processed flour and opt for much healthier alternatives without sacrificing taste. Here are some of the healthiest and most delicious ingredients to add to your pancakes.


How to Flavor Your Pancakes Without Too Much Syrup/Other Sources of Sugar

Refined sugars are one of the worst ingredients commonly found in pancakes. On top of that, most store-bought pre-packaged pancake mixes are coupled with highly processed flour and inflammatory oils, which makes a disaster of a recipe when it comes to eating healthy. A good pancake recipe doesn’t need that much sugar, and it certainly doesn’t have to be from a bad source. Fruit, raw honey, and maple syrup are great alternatives to refined table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other highly processed sugars.

The problem is that a lot of unhealthy ingredients hide in pancake recipes. Even homemade recipes call for enriched white flour, vegetable oil or granulated sugar. Sure, you can skip the premade mixes and make your own recipe at home, but you’ll need a good recipe to follow. If you’re not sure how your current favorite pancake recipe stacks up, here is a list of ingredients you want to avoid:

  • All-purpose flour
  • White or brown sugar
  • Regular cow’s milk
  • Corn syrup
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Palm oil
  • Dextrose
  • Defatted Soy Flour
  • Buttermilk
  • Additives or preservatives such as food colorings or dyes

Research shows that diet high in refined starches and sugar and low in antioxidants and fiber from fruits and vegetables are linked to inflammation and oxidative stress, which is the perfect formula for chronic diseases. Processed foods are not as healthy as their whole food counterparts because they have been stripped of many nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and essential fatty acids. Instead of using a store-bought pancake mix recipe, try making one at home using the following ingredients:

1. Almond Flour

Ingredients You Can Add to Your Pancakes to Make Them Healthier (and More Delicious)

Like coconut flour, almond flour is an excellent choice for low-carb and gluten-free dieters. It contains slightly fewer carbohydrates and fiber than coconut flour but has more calories. A lot of healthy pancake recipes call for the use of both almond and coconut flours because the two pair well together. Coconut flour has a mild taste and lots of fiber, so it absorbs more water than almond flour to create a soft yet dense consistency. On the other hand, almond flour tastes nutty and crunchy, and the mixture tends to be firmer. Plus, when you use them together you’ll get a more complete source of protein and good fats.

2. Bananas

Bananas are the perfect binding agent for your pancake batter. They are soft and mushy. Plus, they’re tasty and full of manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. Additionally, bananas are prebiotic, which means that they feed the good bacteria in your gut to promote digestion and a healthy microbiome. Since they are sweet and sticky, bananas can replace refined sugar and other unhealthy ingredients that are used sweeten or enhance the texture of your pancake batter.


3. Coconut Flour

Replacing the wheat or enriched flour in your pancake recipe with coconut flour is a great way to get more fiber, protein and healthy fats in your diet. A one-quarter cup serving of coconut flour provides you with a whopping 10 grams of fiber to support digestive health. Plus, you’ll be skimping out on the gluten and nuts, which are off limits for many people.

4. Flax Meal

Flax meal rounds out the healthy gluten-free flour list. It’s made of finely ground flax seeds, which is the leading plant source of anti-inflammatory omega three fatty acids and fiber. When flax seeds are ground into a fine powder, it unlocks their nutrients because whole flax seeds tend to be so small that they go through the digestive tract undigested. Eating flax meal instead of flax seeds is an excellent way to make you’re getting the nutritional benefits of the food when you eat it.

Like almond flour, flaxseed meal has a slightly nutty taste that enhances the flavor of your pancake recipe. It’s nut-free, so it’s a great alternative to almond flour if you need a nut-free base to pair with coconut flour.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Ingredients You Can Add to Your Pancakes to Make Them Healthier (and More Delicious)

Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is the perfect sweetener for any pancake batter. It has a sweet flavor and is loaded with health benefits. Research shows that apple cider vinegar may be able to stabilize blood sugar levels after meals, fight diabetes, make you feel full so you lose weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and protect against cancer. It also has antibacterial properties that are great for boosting the immune system and fighting germs from the common cold.

6. Ghee or Coconut Oil

Pancake recipes call for oil on two different occasions. Some recipes have you add them to the recipe itself. You’ll also need to save some to coat the pan you are cooking the pancakes in. Instead of using hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in unhealthy fats, use coconut oil or ghee.

Coconut oil has incredible health benefits. It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties to boost the immune system; healthy fats and antioxidant properties that promote weight loss; and soothing anti-inflammatory qualities that soothe the digestive system.

Ghee, or clarified butter, is butter that is made from grass-fed cows. It’s higher in nutrients and healthy fats than butter and lower in casein and lactose, which is excellent for people who are sensitive to dairy. Plus, it tastes better! You’ll add a rich and deep flavor to your pancake recipe when cooking with ghee.

7. Almond or Coconut Milk

Lots of pancake recipes call for milk to make the batter smooth and creamy. Unsweetened almond or coconut milk are great replacements for regular cow’s milk because they are dairy free and lower in sugar. They also contain good fats and fewer carbohydrates to help maintain stable blood sugar levels all day long. Dairy products that contain lactose can be hard on the digestive tract. They have also been linked to skin problems, such as acne.

When picking out coconut or almond milk at the store, be sure it does not contain added sugar or carrageenan. Try making your own at home if possible to ensure that you’re not using any harmful ingredients.

8. Berries

Ingredients You Can Add to Your Pancakes to Make Them Healthier (and More Delicious)

If you’re looking for a natural sweetener to go in or on top of your pancakes, look no further than good old berries. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries contain unique flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins that have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and neuroprotective properties. They also support collagen production to give you healthy skin and increase levels of vitamin C in the blood.

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