A Guide to Creating Healthy Toppings for Pancakes

Pancakes with fresh berries Love pancakes for breakfast? Love the toppings even more? If you're looking for healthy toppings without too much sugar or saturated fats, here are some ideas on how to make delicious toppings for your pancakes. Fruits...

Pancakes with fresh berries
Pancakes with fresh berries

Love pancakes for breakfast? Love the toppings even more? If you're looking for healthy toppings without too much sugar or saturated fats, here are some ideas on how to make delicious toppings for your pancakes.

Fruits

Given the option of slathering pancakes with preserves or jam, opt for fresh fruits. Fruits are high in antioxidants, fiber and nutrients and they generally have a lower Glycemic Index (GI). According to the American Diabetes Association, GI measures how much a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose. The lower the GI, the better. Most fruits have a GI of 55 or less and are, therefore, good for regulating blood sugar level (especially important for those suffering from diabetes or metabolic syndrome). Choose blueberries, grapefruit, strawberries, cherries, raspberries or apples - cut them up and sprinkle on top of pancakes. And no, you don’t need to doctor it up with superfluous sugar or syrup. Fruits have natural sweetness (satisfies sweet craving without going overboard), crunch (add texture to the food) and fiber.

Mixed Berries
Mixed Berries

Spices

Spices can add a whole new dimension to toppings. They don't just add favor, they have antioxidants that help to fight damaging free radicals. Cinnamon, cloves, and ginger come to mind as they’re warm spices that pair well with pancakes. Mix them with freshly cut fruits before topping the pancakes. Instead of drizzling the pancakes with high fructose syrup, choose natural sweetener such as agave nectar, coconut palm sugar and sprinkle on some spices. You can also add spices to low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese to make a superbly healthy topping.

Spices
Spices

Sauces and Syrup

Most people love their pancakes with caramel sauce, maple syrup or honey. However, these sweet toppings can be high in sugar. If you enjoy pancakes with a syrupy feel, make your own. It’s easy and if you make a batch, it will keep for a few days. Try this berry sauce (any berries will do—strawberries, blueberries, raspberries).

Homemade Berry Sauce

Cut up ½ pound of berries, add a little water and allow it to simmer over medium heat until it thickens into a sauce. Add natural sweetener like coconut palm sugar (the latest healthy sugar alternative) or nothing at all.

Enjoy over pancakes.

Go Nuts

Anytime you combine the softness of pancakes with some crunch power, it makes for a treat. And it’s a treat for your health as well. According to a recent study, eating about 2 ounces of nuts in place of carbohydrates may lower bad cholesterol and improve blood sugar control. So, why not go nuts and add some to the pancakes. Consider unsalted raw almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and macadamias. Chop them up or toss them whole on top of pancakes.

Of course, using the right utensils will help with the pancake-making process, and topping them with healthy toppings will be like the icing on the cake. For more information on your culinary needs, contact us.