Pancakes are a popular breakfast favorite in America, with some restaurants exclusively catering different pancake varieties. They are round, flat and typically thin wheat-based cakes cooked on frying pans or griddles. Although pancakes can be made out of a variety of different flours! Crepes are similar cousin of pancakes. Both are typically topped with fruits, syrups, jams, or even savory choices with meats, eggs and or other savory selections. Although traditionally eaten as a breakfast food, they are gaining popularity as an anytime food choice with dessert varieties or pancake sandwich options popping up all over.
In is important when you are making pancakes to choose whole wheat or whole grain flours vs. white flour. Whole wheat flour is important because it contains more nutrition that white flour. 'Whole grain' means that the flour still has the fiber, vitamins, minerals and some phytonutrients that are naturally occurring in the food. White flour has been stripped and bleached, resulting is little-to-no nutritional value.
The Nutritional Value of Pancakes
1 medium (4 inch) whole wheat pancake (44g)
Fat: 3g / 4% DV
Carbohydrates: 13g / 4% DV
Fiber: 1g / 5% DV
Protein: 4g / 7% DV
Riboflavin: 0.2mg / 14% DV
Manganese: 0.7mg / 34% DV
Phosphorus: 164mg / 16% DV
Selenium: 8.5mcg / 12% DV
Calcium: 110 mg / 11% DV
Health Benefits of Pancakes
- Over 1/3 of the manganese you need each day is found in one pancake. Manganese is part of many enzymes, some of which help you metabolize energy from the food you eat. It is also needed for bone formation.
- Phosphorus is also found in whole wheat products like pancakes and is part of your bones, teeth and DNA/ RNA. It is also one of the main regulators of energy metabolism in organs, and helps generate energy in every cell.
- Pancakes are also a good source of riboflavin. Riboflavin is a B vitamin that also helps your cells to produce energy. Additionally it uses the amino acid tryptophan to make niacin in the body. Tryptophan and its metabolites regulate things like appetite, sleeping-waking-rhythm and pain perception.
Recipe Ideas for Pancakes
- Try pagan pancakes by adding whole oats, fruits and nuts to the batter, then cook.
- Add food coloring to make festive pancakes and have a pancake party with your family.
- Instead of using hamburger buns, substitute two pancakes.
- Have leftover pancakes? Make personal pizzas, with each person getting to select and top their own.
- Look up recipes for red velvet pancakes which can be a sweet alternative to buying a big cake, you can choose the amount of cream, fruit or chocolate you want.
- Make pancake breakfast rolls, add veggies, meatless sausages, cheese and eggs plus syrup for a filling breakfast.
Emily DeLacey MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and currently working in Jamaica as a HIV/ AIDS Prevention Specialist. She attended Central Washington University for her Bachelor's Degree in Science and Dietetics and continued on after her internship to Kent State University for her Master's Degree in Science and Nutrition, with a focus on public health and advocacy. She served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi 2012-2014 working as a Community Health Advisor in a rural village, immersing in the joys of life without electricity or running water. She has been to 20+ countries and 47 of the 50 states in the US. Traveling, adventuring and experiencing new cultures has made her a passionate advocate for the equality of nutrition and wellness for all people.