There are so many recipes labeled with tags such as gluten-free, no refined sugar, dairy-free, vegan, etc. As a consumer who has little knowledge regarding nutritional science, it is easy to get confused about health claims, which is why I think it is important to debunk the true benefits of recipes that are considered healthy alternatives. One of the most important things to learn as a consumer is understanding why something is healthier.
So, yes, this recipe is considered a healthy alternative to traditional pancakes! So let’s talk about why and learn a few new things.
In this recipe, there are a few topics I would like to discuss.
- We are using plain or greek yogurt, which replaces excess oil that would otherwise be added from butter. By doing this, we reduce some of the saturated fat content. This coheres with Canada’s Food Guides message of “reducing saturated fats”. Also, depending on the type of yogurt you select, it could have beneficial probiotics! And trust me, probiotics are your friend. In short, they are live bacteria that reside inside of your large intestine that play a role in immune function, digestion, and synthesize vitamins B and K.
- Banana is used instead of white table sugar in the pancake mixture. This reduces your intake of refined sugars, which is something everyone should strive for! The natural sugars that are in bananas are released slowly due to the combination of protein from the yogurt and eggs. This will aid in controlling blood sugar. Also, bananas are packed with nutrition. They are mainly known for their levels of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and pectin (soluble fibre).
- On top of all of this, they are gluten-free! Quickly, I would like to clear something up. Gluten-free does not mean it is a healthier option. Gluten is a protein that is broken down into two subunits: gliadins and glutenin. When you are gluten intolerant, it simply means that you cannot tolerate the development of the protein (gluten) inside of your gut. So gluten-free options do not have the same characteristics of gluten development. In other words, the substitutes do not have the same protein structure that contributes to the fluidity and elasticity of dough, thus it does not stick to the lining of your gut and cause digestion related issues. Therefore, gluten-free does not actually have a nutritional benefit. In this recipe, we are using oats, which have more documented health claims than white flour (source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals). But, for example, let’s say this recipe called for potato starch. In this case, it would not be healthier, it would be relatively equal because both potatoes and white flour are not nutrient-dense, but oats are!
I hope these explanations help you develop an understanding of a few basic health-related concepts. I also hope that you can apply this knowledge to your life and others.
Now, let’s get to the recipe!
Yield 2-3 servings (6 pancakes)
- 1 banana
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup of oats
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt or 1/3 of Greek plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Heat a non-stick pan over low heat and add cooking spray or a small amount of oil. Once hot, pour pancake batter onto the pan.
- Cook on low heat until the batter starts to form little bubbles (2- 4 minutes). Flip pancakes and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until pancakes are cooked.
- Cook on low heat. If you cook on high heat, as soon as you pour the batter onto the pan, they will burn!
- Using a blender incorporates CO2, which acts as a leavening agent, resulting in fluffy pancakes! And seriously, who doesn’t love a fluffy pancake! The concept of leavening agents is also used in many baking recipes.
Changes You Could Make
- Pan-frying apples with cinnamon
- You could add chocolate chips- keep in mind this would add refined sugar
- Drizzle them with maple syrup (refined sugar)
- Serving with fruit like bananas, strawberries, or blueberries
Thanks for reading!