However, there are healthier ways of eating the good old pancake, and in fact, when cooked the French (crepe) way, they're really thin so have fewer calories.
If you're looking for alternative ways of enjoying your pancakes without worrying about piling on the pounds on Pancake Day, have a read of the following ideas and recommendations.
Fill up with Protein Powder
If you want your pancake to keep you feeling fuller for longer, sprinkle a bit of protein powder into your mix.
Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns, explains:
“Including protein in your meal helps slow down digestion, leaving you feeling more satisfied and fuller for longer. This in turn can help with weight loss, as you’re less likely to have as many calories.
“To ensure you’re getting your daily dose of protein try a plant based protein powder. They are easy to digest and can be kept low-calorie. They can be used to make smoothies or shakes, and also added to savory foods such as stews and soups. I’d recommend Natures Plus Sunflower Protein (£22.50, naturesplus.co.uk)”
It’s easy to make a healthy choice when it comes to pancake toppings. Instead of piling on the sugar and lemon, go for some berries which will give you at least 1 of your 5 a day and put you on the path towards glowing skin.
Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com says:
“Berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackcurrants are excellent sources of vitamin C. This vitamin is vital for the formation of collagen, which gives our skin structure and elasticity. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, protecting our cells from damage; and berries also contain many other plant nutrients that may work as antioxidants in the body, such as the quercetin, catechins, and resveratrol. Another advantage of berries over most other fruits is that they are lower in sugar (a diet high in sugary foods can speed up skin ageing). Berries are great added to plain yoghurt, with some chopped nuts – an ideal snack or breakfast option”
If you’re feeling a little adventurous in the kitchen, you could experiment with pumpkin seeds as a topping.
Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of ‘Natural Alternatives to Sugar’ says:
“These nutritional gems are excellent sources of zinc, one of the most important minerals for maintaining healthy, happy skin. It is thought that as much as 20% of the body’s zinc is stored in the skin, and it has a major role in growth and healing”.
Got a Sweet Tooth
Can’t stay away from the chocolate sauce? Switch it up this year with a healthier option of cacao.
“Raw cacao is one of the best food sources of magnesium – a mineral that many of us don’t get enough of in our diets. Magnesium is essential for energy production, for a healthy brain and nervous system, for our muscles, and for strong bones and teeth. Magnesium may also support a healthy blood pressure. The Magnesium in raw cacao also makes it a natural energy booster; OMBAR (RRP £1.99, Ocado) is especially effective as an energy booster as it contains small amounts of unrefined coconut sugar, which provides slow-releasing, sustained energy without the sugar rush. Cacao is also a source of iron, which builds the blood and helps to transport oxygen around our body, as well as potassium, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium.”
Use Coconut Oil for Frying
Make the swap from your regular oil or butter to coconut oil. Not only will it give your pancakes an extra sweet taste, you will feel the benefits long after you’ve finished your pancakes.
“Coconut oil has gained popularity in recent years, and with good reason. Although it is a saturated fat, it behaves differently in the body to saturated fat from animal foods. One of the most well known ways of using coconut oil is in cooking. This is because it can be heated to high temperatures for baking, frying and roasting, without the fats being damaged. This makes it different from vegetable oils, including olive oil that can become damaged or ‘oxidised’ – at high temperatures. This then makes the oil a source of free radicals that may be detrimental for our health.”
Try Alternative Flours
The central ingredient to any good pancake is the flour however instead of reaching for the plain flour why not opt for a healthier alternative like Buckwheat flour instead.
According to nutritionist Cassandra:
“Clearspring Organic Buckwheat flour (RRP £2.59, www.clearspring.co.uk) is naturally gluten-free and very nutritious. Like dark chocolate, it’s rich in magnesium, known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’. It’s also a great source of iron, zinc and B vitamins to support energy and your immune system.”
Happy Pancake Day - which by the way is on Tuesday 28 February this year (2017)!