Guilt Free Pancakes Just in Time for Saturday Morning

Who doesn’t love pancakes?

When I was a kid, I lived for pancake mornings.  On Saturdays I would shoot out of bed and rot my brain in front of cartoons for a few hours before my mom and dad got up.  Then dad would cook a big-assed batch of buttermilk pancakes while standing in his navy blue robe whistling the theme to the Muppet Show.

Those were the days…

Unfortunately, your standard buttermilk pancakes aren’t really that great for you.  Three, four-inch pancakes deliver the following nutritional content:

Carb: 39g
Protein: 6g
Fat: 3g
Sugar: 6g

And that’s before butter and syrup!  It doesn’t look too bad until you consider the fact that all those simple carbohydrates are going to go straight into your body and turn into sugar.  And then, unless you get out of your bathrobe and go do a killer workout, the unused carb/sugar energy is going to turn into fat and find a cozy place on your body to live.  Even if you switch these up and make a healthier buckwheat version, you’ve still got a lot of carbs to burn off, so you’re relegated to eating pancakes only within 1-2 hours of a workout.

That blows.

I want my pancakes and I want to eat them, too!

I’ve been cooking a lot lately with flax meal and almond meal, which are nice low-carb alternatives to regular flour.  Flax also delivers a boatload of fiber and omega-3s.  Almond meal gives you all the cancer-preventing benefits of almonds along with a bunch of healthy monosaturated fats that have been linked to promoting heart health and lowering cholesterol levels.  Almonds also help decrease post-meal blood sugar levels.

I took almond meal, incorporated it into a basic pancake recipe, and came up with a pretty kickin’ alternative to the carb-bloated version that I ate as a kid.

I tend to shoot from the hip a little bit when I’m cooking, but this is basically how it goes:

1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup skim milk
1 egg (Use a whole egg instead of just egg whites to crank up the omega-3s)
sweetener (pick your favorite – about 2 tspn splenda or 3 tspn agave syrup, much smaller amount of stevia – add to taste)

Mix it up.  Cook it up.  Eat it up.

These are great because you can eat them anytime, not just post-workout.  They break down to roughly:

Protein: 20g
Carbs: 6g (Would be about 10g but about half is fiber which is not digestible and therefore subtracted from the total carb count)
Fat: 22g of only the good stuff :), 2g saturated

Fat seem high?  Remember, it’s good fat.  Do not fear the monosaturated fat!  Do not fear the almond!  You have much, much more to fear from sugar, high fructose corn syrup or simple carbohydrates – trust me.

For post-workout pancakes I like to use one of these two recipes:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup egg whites (I usually throw in a yolk or two as well)
6oz cup of plain nonfat yogurt
cinnamon and vanilla extract to taste


1 cup whole wheat pancake mix
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
3/4 cups lowfat cottage cheese
3 egg whites
3 tspn flax seeds
1/4 cup water

Blend either of these recipes together in a blender until smooth then pancake your little Saturday-morning-cartoon heart out!  Don’t forget optional yummy additions like: cinnamon, vanilla extract, sliced bananas, berries

Have a favorite healthy pancake recipe?  Let’s hear it!

PS – Life is busy. Things get crazy. I love my readers and don’t want you to miss out on anything. If you enjoy reading, consider subscribing for updates delivered to your inbox every 2 or 3 weeks, along with occasional exclusive content that won’t be posted to the blog.  Also, if you have a question, please contact me with it.  I’d love to hear what’s on your mind. heidiswift (at) gmail (dot) com

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  1. stephalopoulos

    OMG I have to try the almond meal recipe. I really have insane, crazy love for almond-flavored things. Add to that a small amount of frozen fruit macerated with the slightest sprinkling of splenda and with some water added, and reduced by boiling on the stove, and you have the most fabulous pancake syrup, I am sure (and especially if you can find frozen cherries–because, well, cherries and almond…can’t go wrong…)

    I can’t have pancake syrup. High fructose corn syrup. That magic word–corn–straight to my food problems. I have the organic, natural maple syrup from trader joe’s, but I can only even have that on occasion. It’s a gateway to bad food behavior for me, especially if I am having a really shitty day or if I have not had enough sleep or if I am on a horrible bender of ignoring the food stuff that works best for me (small meals, many times a day, as opposed to 3 big meals).

    There’s a huge link for me between eating properly and the, I guess, inflammation of my depression. There’s also a huge link for me between sleeping properly and my ability to eat properly AND sleeping properly and my ability to manage depression when it flares up. That has been one of my absolute biggest learnings from the last month and a half, as I have been teetering on a dangerous edge–psyche-wise and energy-wise and schedule-wise.

    I really love that you give recipes. I wish you lived closer than That Other Coast, though, because I would totally benefit from sitting down with you from time to time and going over what I eat, what my energy needs are, and how to look at food and figure out whether I am getting the right proportions of protein to fat to carbs to whatever that I need for the way that I use energy, for the amount of energy my schedule requires, for my horribly slow Greek metabolism, and for my fitness goals.

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