This blog was written as a guest post for The Skinny on Low Cal site. You can access the original post here.
The way we judge foods is a lot like the way we judge people – by the company they keep. Pancakes are a great example of that. They are a really good-for-you food made of flour, milk and eggs in their most basic version, but they’re often viewed in a negative way by dieters. My theory is it’s because they frequently hang out with a big dollop of butter and are surrounded by super-sweet syrup. Sometimes they can even be found snuggled up against several strips of fatty bacon. How can anyone’s reputation survive that?
If you’ve removed pancakes from your diet it may be for the wrong reason. It’s time to give them a chance to return with the right makeover.
While it is unknown when or where batter was poured onto a hot stone slab to make the first pancake, the idea quickly caught on and has been replicated in cuisines around the world. They are enjoyed as both a sweet and a savory part of the meal, for breakfast or dinner, flat or leavened and stacked or stuffed. The varieties are as limitless as the cooks who make them since all you have to do to create a new recipe is change the type of flour or grain used, add some signature spices or extracts and top them with an original syrup or sauce. Mistaking the almond extract for vanilla was all it took for me to invent my now famous toasted almond pancakes with Amaretto syrup!
The nutritional value of a plate of pancakes also varies right along with the recipe and the number of pancakes made per batch. That means they don’t all have the same caloric content, either. Fortunately, even if you’re making them from a mix you still have control over some of the ingredients added to it and can make smaller pancakes to help reduce the calories.
Some simple substitutions to cut calories in your favorite pancake recipe include using:
- fat-free milk instead of whole milk
- egg substitute instead of whole eggs
- sugar substitute instead of sugar
- applesauce instead of some of the oil
- sugar-free syrup instead of regular
- light soft spread instead of butter
To help you become reacquainted with this popular food loved by kids and adults alike, try this foolproof recipe for Apple Pancakes. I’d love to know how you liked them and what else you’re pairing up with your pancakes to help improve their reputation!
Registered dietitian and nutrition expert Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN has more than 30 years of experience counseling patients and teaching at the university level. She is also the author of two books on nutrition. Follow her on Twitter @EverydayRD and check out her other posts here.