The Unhealthy Mistake You Might Be Making When Cooking Pancakes

Pancakes are a quintessential breakfast food. But from a nutrition standpoint, they aren't that great for you. According to Eating Well, pancakes are often made with white flour that has been stripped of any nutrients during processing. They also don't contain much fiber or protein, which means they won't keep you full and satisfied for very long. According to Healthline, a diet high in refined flour can contribute to insulin resistance and obesity over time.

Making your own pancakes with a traditional recipe using white flour is not the best thing you can be doing for your health. Instead, find a healthier recipe that uses whole-wheat or buckwheat flour (via Everyday Health). You can also use sweet potatoes, flaxseed meal, and quinoa as the base to create a healthier flapjack. Instead of using oil in your recipe, opt for Greek yogurt, which is packed with protein and gut-friendly probiotics. Whatever recipe you use, consider sprinkling some flaxseeds or chia seeds into your batter for an extra dose of fiber.

Your pancake toppings matter too

What you put on your pancakes is just as important as what you make them with. "The part about pancakes that's 'unhealthy' isn't necessarily the pancakes themselves, it's what you put on top of them," Charlotte Martin, RDN, a physical therapist and recipe developer in Baltimore, told Everyday Health. "Calories, fat, and sugar can really start to add up when you start adding mix-ins like chocolate chips and toppings like butter and syrup."

Pancakes are usually topped with maple syrup. The stuff you'll find in stores is often highly processed and full of added sugars (via Livestrong). Pure maple syrup, on the other hand, has a lower glycemic index than most pancake syrups and contains many vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, iron, and folic acid. Top your pancakes with pure maple syrup if you prefer this sweet condiment. You can also use healthier alternatives to syrup like nut butter, fresh fruit, yogurt, and spices. Of course, you can enjoy any pancake dish in moderation as long as it's part of a well-balanced diet.