Pancakes as a Balanced Meal? Yes.
Ok, let’s keep this short and simple. Most everyone loves pancakes. But, other than lumberjacks, most people would not want to claim them to be a healthy breakfast, especially when combined with candied bacon (also delicious, but not in our best interest to consume very often).
What’s a balanced meal?
For the purpose of this post I will keep it simple. ANY meal or snack should contain all of the following groups, listed in order of abundance: Greens (carbs), protein, and healthy fat.
Why eat a balanced meal?
When we cover all of the bases needed by our body to build and rebuild its tissues, we have a healthy body. When we don’t, things get stored as fat. I’ll just leave it at that for now.
The challenge is how to get all three of these groups every time we eat. Breakfast can be especially difficult to fill up with greens.
I’ll will put forth an argument in this post that the pancakes you see in the photo above are, in fact, a well-balanced meal. I will also show you just how easy it is to convert a guilty pleasure into something you can feel good about consuming and giving your kids for breakfast or a snack. Here are the guidelines:
- Whole Grain Mix – try to use a pancake mix that is not made up entirely of refined flour. We want at least some of the fiber and minerals and vitamins left intact. Look for whole grain mix. For gluten-free, try rice-based.
- Greens Powder – this is the big trick, here. The clincher. Greens powders are freeze dried and powdered dark leafy greens that most of us cannot find, let alone bring ourselves to buy at the grocery store. A good greens powder provides dense nutrition, delivering copious amounts of minerals and phytonutrients we just don’t tend to include in our diet otherwise, especially at breakfast! A little bit of greens powder goes a really long way – add it to the pancake mix and no-one will know they are filling their bodies with nutrition while putting back the flapjacks. There are lots of greens powders out there. If you want to know the one I use and why, just ask me.
- Nut or Seed Butter – with pancakes we have a very starchy food. Lots of grains there. Anyone enjoying a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle should already understand that grains provide part of the essential amino acid profile needed to make a complete protein – the other part comes from legumes. One legume that can be used in this context is peanut. Peanut butter tastes great on pancakes and teams up with the grains in them to make them a complete protein source. ‘No Nut’ butter, made from yellow peas will also deliver the balancing amino acids needed to complete the protein. Soy-based butter, so long as it is organic, can also be used.
- Healthy Fat – every meal needs a small amount of healthy fat. Your pancake mix is going to ask for oil. Consider using coconut oil rather than something ultra refined like vegetable, corn or canola. I like butter or ghee. They can be used in the mix and in the pan when frying up those delicious pancakes. Olive oil is a decent choice, but it may affect flavour in an unwanted way. I also like to put a bit of butter on my pancakes.
That’s basically it, folks! In a nutshell, put greens powder in your pancakes, peanut butter and butter on top and you’ve completed your meal. Make extra and you’ve got a great travel snack for kids.
I think this is a great example of a way we can make subtle changes to something we love to improve how we feel without suffering with a diet or drastic lifestyle change. Let me know how you change and add to your pancake breakfast!