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6 Secret Pancake Ingredients

Pancakes are a breakfast staple at our house, especially on the weekends, when we have time to whip some up and and sit down together to enjoy them. Mixes for pancakes are sometimes considered a “big time saver” or a “short-cut”, but making pancakes from scratch hardly requires much more effort. When you mix up your own batter, you can avoid unnecessary ingredients (high fructose corn syrup), limit others (sugar) and add some secret ingredients that will surreptisiously (see below) boost the nutritional value of your pancakes without frightening off children or picky eaters. Over the years, we’ve developed a few strategies to make healthier, meal-worthy pancakes that are more filling and nutritious than the fluffy, white side-dish pancakes of old.

1. Whey Protein Powder

We buy this to add to fruit smoothies. A scoop or two of Vanilla Whey Protein Powder adds flavor and protein, but not fat, to our pancakes.

2. Cottage cheese or yogurt.

Cottage cheese can be substituted for part of the milk in a recipe. We whirl it in the blender or food processor to make it smooth before adding it to the wet ingredients in the batter. Or we add plain yogurt. Adding some additional milk may necessary to get to the right thickness and texture of the batter before cooking.

3. Flax Seed.

We typically add 1 tablespoon to a 1/4 cup of flax seed. It gives the pancakes a nice, nutty flavor in addition to essential acids.

4. Egg whites.

We’ve made the switch-over to buying egg whites (not egg substitutes) in cartons at the grocery store. We replace half of the eggs called for with just egg whites– all the protein and none of the fat of whole eggs.

5. Sunflower seeds.

Jim gets full credit for this discovery. He’s made pancakes with whole sunflower seeds added, but again that doesn’t appeal to all members of our household. Jim has found, however, that sunflower seeds can be whirled in the blender and then added in their more pulverized form to the pancake batter. We sneak in a little more texture and flavor and nutrition when people aren’t looking!

6. Oatmeal/ oat flour.
You can add oat flour for variety or whirl oatmeal in the blender and then add it to your pancakes. You get a little protein boost as well as some extra fiber in your pancakes.

As in many things, practice makes perfect with pancakes. Adding one or more of these secret ingredients will provide some variety in taste and texture as well as some extra nutrients. We’re moving away from the high-fructose type of pancake syrup to pure maple syrup, jelly or jam, sometimes honey, and even peanut or almond butter. Change doesn’t come easily sometimes, but we have found that even some of the late adopters in our clan are open to trying new and exciting pancakes.

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