Are Pancakes Healthy? The Great Pancake Debate

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Candi Randolph

Ah, pancakes, those fluffy stacks of joy that have graced many a breakfast table with their sweet, tempting allure. They’re often seen as a naughty indulgence, especially for us women over 50, striving to lead healthier lifestyles. Yet, here I am, a self-proclaimed pancake aficionado, poised to challenge the notion that pancakes must always be filed under ‘guilty pleasures’.

are pancakes healthy

Armed with humor and a dash of healthy skepticism, let’s embark on a deliciously rebellious quest to flip the script. Are pancakes healthy? Can pancakes, those traditional harbingers of sugar and white flour, truly be reimagined as part of a healthy diet? Spoiler alert: the journey ahead promises to be as enlightening as it is scrumptious. 

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The Sins of Traditional Pancakes

We’ve all been there, in that moment of indulgence, flipping a golden-brown pancake onto our plates. It seems harmless, but let’s face facts: traditional pancakes have a ‘darker side’, and I don’t mean slightly overcooked. They’re often packed with white flour, a culprit behind their fluffy texture but also a source of empty calories and insulin spikes. Remember the times you reached for more, only to feel sluggish later? That’s added sugar at work, undermining our health one syrupy bite at a time.

And let’s not overlook the fiber issue – or the lack thereof – in those stacks. Without it, we’re not just missing out on digestive benefits; we’re also risking our hearts. For us ladies over 50, these aren’t just minor inconveniences but potential threats, edging us closer to heart disease with every delicious but deceitful bite. A bit melodramatic, I know, but there’s a nugget of truth in that statement!

Turning the Table with Whole Grains

Switching out white flour for its whole grain counterparts, such as whole wheat flour, coconut flour, and almond flour, sparks a revolution in your pancake batter. These substitutions dive deep into health benefits. Whole grains bring to the table not just a richer flavor but also a treasure trove of nutrients. They have been shown to contribute significantly to heart health and offer the fibers our bodies crave.

Imagine the delightful crunch and nutty whispers almond flour introduces to your fluffy pancakes. That’s not merely about taste; it’s a heart-healthy choice waiting on your breakfast plate. 

I have been using both almond flour and coconut flour for quite a while now (since I was on the Keto diet), and am still amazed at how good my recipes taste, without the carbs that they would contain if I’d used regular white flour.

Whole wheat pancakes might sound like a drastic leap from traditional pancakes, but it’s a leap worth taking. The good news is, incorporating whole grain flour into your pancake stack doesn’t just vouchsafe for your health. It tosses in an invitation to explore new textures and flavors. So, let’s dare to whisk whole grain flours into our next pancake adventure for that healthy breakfast option we all secretly yearn for. 

Sweetening the Deal Without Added Sugar

healthy pancakes made with coconut flour

Many of us have wondered if that sweet taste in our fluffy pancakes necessitates a trade-off with our health. I discovered that it doesn’t have to. By swapping out added sugar for naturals like fresh fruit and unsweetened applesauce, we can still indulge without the guilt. I remember the morning I dared to dollop peanut butter onto my stack of whole wheat pancakes. The result was not just delicious, but also satisfying in a way traditional pancakes never were.

This simple switch not only reduced my calorie intake but also kept those pesky blood sugar levels in check. Clearly, the path to a healthy breakfast option doesn’t require sacrificing flavor. Instead, it invites us to get creative with simple ingredients that pack a nutritional punch. 

Health-boosting Toppings and Mix-ins

They told you pancakes were a treat, meant for lazy Sunday brunches, drenched in syrup. Voilà, I’ve got good news! You can now whisk that pancake batter into a concoction of health and taste. Let’s talk toppings and mix-ins, those heroes that turn the humble stack of pancakes into a powerhouse of nutrients. 

Imagine this: a fluffy stack of pancakes, but not just any pancakes. We’re upgrading to a version sprinkled with magic — whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Whole wheat flour, coconut flour, and almond flour transform your base; they’re not there just for the health benefits, but for that nutty goodness. Drizzle with unsweetened applesauce or dot with fresh fruit for a sweet taste without the guilt of added sugar. 

Ever thought of spreading peanut butter over warm, whole grain flour pancakes? I did. And let me tell you, it’s a game changer. Top it off with slices of banana and a sprinkle of chia seeds, and you’ve got yourself a breakfast that thinks it’s a dessert. 

For those aiming for a healthier heart or just a healthy breakfast option, these simple ingredients and creative combinations are your allies. They whispered sweet nothings of healthy fats from coconut oil and the sweet taste of victory against bland breakfasts. So, go ahead, mix in that almond milk, throw on those fatty acids packed toppings, and behold the stack that breaks all rules — delicious, nutritious, and incredibly satisfying. 

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are pancakes healthy

Easy Almond Flour Pancakes

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If you’re watching your carbs, this simple and easy recipe is oh-so-tasty and will keep the carb count lower. 

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 pancakes 1x

Ingredients

Scale

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup water (or to give the consistency you want)

2 eggs

1 tablespoon natural non-sugar sweetener (I like ‘Monk Fruit in the Raw’)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Approx 1 teaspoon of oil for the pan

Instructions

Mix the almond flour, water, eggs, sweetener, vanilla extract, and salt together until smooth.

Heat the oil on a griddle or in a pan over medium heat.

Drop a large tablespoon of the batter onto the griddle and cook until the edges are dry and bubbles form, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the bottoms are browned, another few minutes.

Notes

Makes about 4 pancakes. To keep this meal sugar-free, use sugar-free maple syrup (or other type of sugar-free syrup), or sprinkle with sugar-free confectioners sugar and add a few berries as a garnish.

  • Author: Candi Randolph
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: breakfast
  • Cuisine: breakfast

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 pancakes
  • Calories: 431
  • Sugar: 6.8 g
  • Sodium: 370.9 mg
  • Fat: 17.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.9 g
  • Protein: 14.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 186 mg

Why I Love These Almond Flour Pancakes

As I’m sure you’ve surmised, I enjoy pancakes. A lot. But I stopped eating them as I got older because, well, they’re on my list of “eat it today, wear it tomorrow” foods, plus I discovered that white flour is not something I want to eat very often.

I started learning about eating healthier and how to incorporate nut flours into my diet. Almond flour is my favorite, and although I have to be aware of the caloric content, I still use it regularly, factoring in the overall nutrition into my daily menu.

I make 1/2 of a recipe of the almond pancakes recipe shown above. That gives me 2, 4 to 5-inch pancakes, which is plenty for my breakfast. The texture of the pancakes is a little different than traditional white flour pancakes, but they still taste like a pancake. I use just 1 egg when I cut the recipe in half and it works well – the pancakes are not overly “eggy” in taste or texture. I also added about 1/4 teaspoon more water to get the consistency I wanted.

Here are some of the ingredients I use all the time and recommend them:

Are Pancakes Healthy? Serving Up a Healthy Portion of Perspective

We’ve journeyed together through the world of pancakes, debunking myths and embracing a feast of possibilities. I have delighted in exploring how we can transform a traditional breakfast option into a tower of nourishment. For me, the commitment to whisking together healthy pancake recipes has become more than a culinary experiment; it’s a pledge to my well-being. 

Responding to the question, are pancakes healthy, we know that a healthy breakfast option is within reach if you’re willing to flip the script. The good news? The tools for this delightful transformation are already at our fingertips. From swapping white flour for whole grains or whole wheat flour to opting for unsweetened applesauce instead of added sugar, simple ingredients can invite profound changes.

Pancake mixes laden with unwanted extras are no longer our go-to; instead, we reach for whole wheat pancakes, garnished with fresh fruit and sweetened by our creativity in achieving that perfect sweet taste. 

Healthy fats have found their way into our pancake batter, from almond flour and coconut oil to the surprisingly versatile peanut butter. Heart disease doesn’t stand a chance against such a stack of nutrient-rich, whole grain flour pancakes.

As for me, I’m dedicated to keeping my pancakes fluffy, my portion size sensible, and my mornings filled with the joy of knowing I’m nourishing my body and heart.

Let’s reimagine our breakfasts, one healthy pancake recipe at a time, for a future where every stack is a step toward better health. 

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easy recipe for healthy almond pancakes

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