Start your family’s day off feeling energised with a light, fluffy and totally comforting pancake. And while pancakes don’t exactly have a reputation as a health food, they do have some nutrients that can benefit your health. The trick is to opt for whole-grain pancakes, and limit the sugary toppings, like maple syrup, to a drizzle.
Carbs For Energy
It’s no secret that eating a plate of pancakes means getting plenty of carbs. That’s why we love ’em, right? And since carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of fuel, that means pancakes are also a great source of energy. A serving of buttermilk pancakes (about 200 calories’ worth) has 38 grams of total carbohydrates, while a similar portion of whole-wheat pancakes has 30 grams.
The whole-wheat pancakes are the better option. You’ll still get plenty of carbs to fuel your active lifestyle, but the whole-wheat pancakes also supply fiber, which helps stabilize your blood sugar so that you’ll feel energized after you eat.
A Source of Iron
Pancakes pump iron? Yep, it’s true! A serving of whole-wheat pancakes will net you about 3 milligrams of this essential mineral, which is between 16 and 38 percent of the iron you need to consume daily, depending on your age and sex, while buttermilk pancakes have almost 2 milligrams.
Like carbs, iron contributes to the energizing properties of pancakes, since it plays a key role in oxygenating your tissues so they can produce the fuel they need. Iron is also important for the function of certain immune cells, so getting enough of it in your diet can help you fight off disease.
Calcium for Strong Bones
You might not necessarily think of pancakes as a bone-building food, but they’re a surprisingly good source of calcium. A serving of whole-wheat pancakes has about 250 milligrams of calcium, or around one-quarter of the calcium you need for the day, while buttermilk pancakes have around 180 milligrams, or 18 percent of your daily needs.
In addition to it’s obvious bone-friendly benefits, calcium helps your nerves and muscles function properly, and it might also help control your blood pressure, the Linus Pauling Institute reports.
Watch the Sugar
Your pancake brekkie may not feel complete without syrup, but if you pour on as much syrup as you want, you’ll turn your meal into a sugar bomb. A single tablespoon of maple syrup has 52 calories and 12 grams of sugar. But if you accidentally pour a quarter-cup, you’re looking at 216 calories and 50 grams of sugar from the syrup alone. That’s bad news for your health, as added sugar (the role maple syrup plays on pancakes) is linked to obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Use syrup sparingly to keep your pancakes healthy, and instead add natural sweetness in the form of fresh fruit. With fresh sliced strawberries or chunks of fresh peach topping each pancake, you can drizzle a tablespoon of syrup across the whole plate without feeling deprived.
Article written by Sylvie Tremblay. Originally published by SFGate, November 2018 (healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-pancakes-3125.html)
Your Families Healthy Pancake Recipe
These easy healthy pancakes get their fluffy texture from whipped egg whites. Stack them high with fresh berries and a spoonful of low-fat yogurt.
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 30 minutes | Makes 10-12 Pancakes
- 50g self-raising flour
- 50g wholemeal or wholegrain flour
- 2 small eggs, separated
- 150ml skimmed milk
- berries and low-fat yogurt or fromage frais to serve
- Sift the flours into a bowl or wide jug and tip any bits in the sieve back into the bowl. Add the egg yolks and a splash of milk then stir to a thick paste. Add the remaining milk a little at a time so you don’t make lumps in the batter.
- Whisk the egg whites until they stand up in stiff peaks, then fold them carefully into the batter – try not to squash out all the air.
- Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat and pour in enough batter to make a pancake about 10 cm across. Cook for just under a minute until bubbles begin to pop on the surface and the edges are looking a little dry. Carefully turn the pancake over. If it is a bit wet on top, it may squirt out a little batter as you do so. In that case, leave it on the other side a little longer. Keep warm while you make the remaining pancakes. Serve with your favourite healthy toppings.
Recipe courtesy of BBC GoodFood