Yes, you can eat healthy pancakes if you’re on a diet. Reasonable amounts support weight loss, as pancakes are very nutritious. However, pancakes rich in sugar and fat, with syrup or other fattening toppings, can make you gain weight.
How many calories do pancakes have?
In most cases, a serving has between 175 and 210 calories. Pancakes can have more than 300 calories per serving, though.
Toppings provide extra calories. So, we should be very cautious with extra ingredients.
In fact, a serving can have more than 500 calories if fatty foods, like syrup, butter, nuts, or chocolate are used as toppings.
How to reduce calories?
Adding too much butter or any vegetable oil to your pancakes skyrockets the total calorie content of the recipe. These are the most calorie-dense foods we can eat. They’re almost 100% fat. Just a tablespoon of any vegetable oil has about 125 calories!
Also, full-fat milk and eggs contribute to the total calorie status of the pancakes. Cooking pancakes with skim milk or vegan milk can significantly decrease the consumed calories.
Also, you could use only egg whites in order to lower the total calorie content of the pancakes. Egg yolk has substantially more calories than egg white.
There are even vegan egg alternatives containing fewer than 40 calories per serving.
Can I eat pancakes every day for breakfast and still lose weight?
Absolutely. Eating reasonable amounts of low-calorie pancakes as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet supports weight loss.
Benefits of eating pancakes at breakfast for weight loss!
Pancakes have many benefits for weight loss.
Firstly, eating pancakes at breakfast is good for weight loss because they regulate appetite. They can keep us full for many hours.
Pancakes are the ultimate comfort breakfast. It’s a super satisfying and filling food.
Eating pancakes in the morning can reduce the total caloric intake of the day! As we feel satisfied, we don’t snack. Snacking is a very common cause of obesity.
In fact, pancakes control hunger for many hours because they contain decent amounts of fiber. A serving of regular pancakes made of refined flour has about 1 gram of fiber. This dose is 4% of the Daily Value on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Fiber-rich diets have been associated with a healthy body weight.
Fiber promotes satiety, as it delays digestion and takes up a lot of space in the stomach. In addition, fiber prevents spikes of blood sugar levels.
If you want to consume more fiber, prefer cooking pancakes with whole-grain flour. You could add fruits, nuts, and seeds for toppings as well. They’re among the richest foods in fiber.
Protein also plays a key role in satiety. Especially when combined with fiber and water.
Furthermore, high protein intakes are necessary for a lean body, as they preserve muscle mass while dieting. Increased muscle mass is necessary for a better metabolism. It has huge energy needs.
Also, protein has beneficial effects on weight loss because it has the highest thermic effect. About 30% of calories of protein are burned during digestion!
Pancakes have about 5 grams of protein per serving! Wheat, milk, and egg are all excellent dietary sources of protein.
We can skyrocket the protein content of pancakes by adding a scoop of protein powder.
Moreover, pancakes are good for weight loss, as they’re packed with nutrients that are involved in energy metabolism and fat burning.
Above all, pancakes are excellent dietary sources of calcium. A serving provides about 17% of the Daily Value.
We have to maintain normal calcium levels while dieting. Calcium is necessary for fat metabolism, increased thermogenesis, as well as the synthesis of many hormones. It’s one of the most important minerals for weight management.
You could increase the calcium status of your favorite meal by adding tahini. It’s one of the richest vegan sources of calcium. In fact, tahini is a superfood. It’s the healthiest spread for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, vegans, vegetarians, and people who want to lose weight.
Pancakes are rich in phosphorus as well. A serving provides 18% of the Daily Value.
Phosphorus affects many mechanisms that are implicated in weight loss. Above all, it enhances postprandial energy expenditure and satiety. A phosphorus-rich meal lowers our desire to eat.
Additionally, pancakes can greatly increase our selenium intake. A serving provides 21% of the DV.
Selenium-rich diets have a protective effect against obesity. Selenium helps us maintain a lean body. High selenium intake has been associated with a lower body fat percentage and waist circumference.
Boosting selenium intake first thing in the morning is also good for our health. Selenium plays a key role in immunity. It has potent antioxidant properties.
Among other health benefits, it protects the skin, eyes, hair, and nails from oxidative stress due to sun exposure or air pollution. It also appears to protect from viral infections.
You can skyrocket your selenium intake by adding 1-2 chopped Brazil nuts as topping on your pancake. Brazil nut is the richest food in selenium. 2 nuts provide more selenium than the recommended daily intake!
Another key reason why eating pancakes can be beneficial for weight loss is that they contain decent amounts of vitamin B12. A serving contains approximately 7% of the DV.
Vitamin B12 is a crucial vitamin for weight loss. It plays a key role in energy metabolism.
As plant-based foods contain no vitamin B12, many people fail to get the recommended daily intake. Its deficiency may lead to obesity and fatigue. Inactivity makes it even harder to burn belly fat.
As there aren’t many foods naturally high in vitamin B12, vitamin B12 deficiency is pretty common. Especially among vegans, vegetarians, or people who follow a plant-based diet.
Thus, vitamin B12 supplementation is beneficial in many cases. Even high dosages of 1,000 mcg are considered pretty safe.
Pancakes are particularly rich in riboflavin as well. A serving provides 17% of the DV.
Normal levels of this B vitamin are necessary for weight loss. It’s implicated in energy metabolism. Obese people may have higher needs than lean people.
Furthermore, pancakes support weight loss because a serving provides about 8% of the DV of iron.
Iron deficiency is the most prevalent single micronutrient deficiency globally! It can lead to tiredness. It has been linked to obesity and inflammation.
Moreover, it causes reduced productivity. So, it’s important to eat foods rich in iron at breakfast.
Tahini is the richest vegan food in iron that you can add to your pancakes.
Honey can also greatly increase the iron status in the body. Dark chocolate, dried fruits, seeds, and nuts contribute to the daily intake as well.
Other vitamins & minerals!
Pancakes can be beneficial for weight loss, as they contain dozens of vitamins and minerals that help burn fat:
- niacin 8% DV: This is another B vitamin that is involved in carbohydrate metabolism.
- folate 7% DV: is necessary for protein metabolism and the synthesis of various hormones.
- manganese 7% DV: obese people have increased risk of manganese imbalances.
- pantothenic acid 6% DV: it plays a key role in the treatment of obesity, as it increases energy expenditure.
- copper 4% DV: A low copper status has been linked to fat accumulation.
- zinc 4% DV: It improves insulin resistance and regulates appetite.
- potassium 3% DV: Adequate amounts decrease Body Mass Index. But, most people don’t get the recommended daily intake.
- magnesium 3% DV: Overweight people have low levels of magnesium. High magnesium intakes are important for weight loss. It’s implicated in glucose metabolism!
- vitamin B6: 3% DV: improves body composition.
As pancakes contain so many vitamins and minerals that are involved in energy metabolism, they’re actually a great post-workout snack. Athletes can eat them before or after strenuous exercise.
Can pancakes make me fat?
Yes, pancakes can make us gain weight despite being nutrient-dense food.
They’re also high in calories. A serving has about 200 calories. Adding fatty toppings can skyrocket the total calorie content of the meal.
In addition, many people consume more pancakes than a serving. They can get more than 700–800 calories! These are way too many calories to get in just one meal.
We gain weight when we consume more calories than we burn.
Furthermore, the key ingredient in the most common pancake recipes is white flour.
All-purpose white flour has about 364 calories per 100g. Actually, most common flours (e.g. oat, quinoa, buckwheat, chickpea, banana flour) have a similar calorie content.
Only a few flours, like almond flour, have substantially more calories. For instance, almond flour has about 620 calories per 100g. It has 70% more calories than white flour!
Hence, you can use any flour you want to prepare your favorite pancakes. It’s a matter of taste.
Keep in mind that whole-grain flour won’t make pancakes as fluffy as all-purpose white flour.
Why should I not cook pancakes with white flour?
White flour is particularly high in starch, while it’s a poor dietary source of fiber.
A fiber-rich diet supports weight loss and good health. Among other benefits, fiber regulates postprandial glucose responses and improves gut microbiota health.
Whole grain flours have substantially more fiber. In addition, they’re healthier because they contain a much higher polyphenol content. Polyphenols have potent anti-inflammatory effects.
On the contrary, overconsumption of refined flour may cause inflammation and obesity in the long term.
Nut flours are also a great alternative to white flour for preparing pancakes. They’re packed with fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
Pancakes can be unhealthy when the main ingredients are foods high in saturated fat. A typical pancake serving has about 1.6 grams of saturated fat. That’s 13% of the maximum safe intake on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Animal-derived foods, like milk, eggs, and butter, are rich in saturated fat.
According to the American Heart Association, consuming more than 13 grams of saturated fats a day on a 2,000-calorie diet may raise the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This is dangerous for your heart.
How to consume less saturated fat?
We can enjoy healthy pancakes with a low content of saturated fat.
Firstly, we can replace full-fat cow’s milk with skim milk or any plant-based milk, except coconut milk. Coconut milk and palm oil are the only two common plant-based foods that are particularly high in saturated fat.
Above all, you should avoid adding cow’s butter as a topping to your pancakes. It’s one of the richest foods in saturated fat.
Furthermore, obese people who follow a sedentary life or people with high blood pressure should be mindful of sodium in pancakes.
A typical serving contains approximately 338 mg of sodium, which is 15% of the Daily Value.
High salt intakes have been significantly related to higher body fat mass.
Are pancakes healthy without syrup?
Another key reason why pancakes can make us fat is that they can be pretty high in sugar. Especially if a sugar-rich syrup is used as a topping.
Most pancake batters have 6–10 grams of sugar per serving.
But adding maple syrup to pancakes skyrockets its sugar and calorie content. Just a small serving of maple syrup has 12 grams of sugar and 52 calories!
Hence, many pancakes contain more than 20 grams of sugar in total. This is bad for weight loss and health.
It’s preferred to cook homemade pancakes with stevia or other natural sweeteners, like erythritol, which contain no calories.
Honey is the healthiest sweetener, as it contains more than 200 polyphenol compounds! However, even honey can be bad for weight loss. It has many calories and too much sugar. Just a tbsp has about 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar!
4 easy & quick low-calorie pancake recipes for weight loss!
Here are 4 low-calorie pancake recipes. They’re ideal for those who dieting.
- Banana Oat Pancakes:
- Ingredients for 4–6 pancakes: 1 ripe banana, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 2 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt.
- Instructions: In a blender, combine the banana, oats, egg whites, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt. Blend until you have a smooth batter. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly grease it with cooking spray. Pour small amounts of batter onto the skillet to form pancakes. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Serve with fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey.
Oats are a gluten-free grain. But, they can be cross-contaminated with gluten. If you follow a strict gluten-free diet, prefer consuming packaged oats labeled as gluten-free.
Buckwheat flour is also naturally free of gluten.
Low-calorie, protein-rich pancake recipes
- Greek Yogurt Protein Pancakes:
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 scoop (about 25-30 grams) of your preferred protein powder (e.g., whey, plant-based)
- 1/2 cup oat flour (blend rolled oats into a fine powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: Sweetener of your choice (e.g., honey, stevia), to taste
- Cooking spray or a small amount of oil for the pan
Serve the protein-packed pancakes with your favorite toppings, such as fresh berries, sliced bananas, a dollop of Greek yogurt, or a drizzle of nut butter.
Combining oats and Greek yogurt has many benefits for weight loss. The protein powder makes pancakes more filling and protects lean body mass while dieting.
Vegan pancake recipe
- Vegan Pancakes:
- Ingredients for a batch of 8 pancakes:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of your favorite plant-based milk (e.g. almond, soy, or oat milk)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Ingredients for a batch of 8 pancakes:
For fluffier pancakes, you can add 1 tbsp of vegan egg replacer.
Alternatively, you can use flaxseeds or chia seeds. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds with 2.5 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until it thickens. This mixture can act as a binding and leavening agent, contributing to fluffiness.
Keto pancake recipe
- Keto Almond Flour Pancakes:
- Ingredients for 8 pancakes:
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any unsweetened nut milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: Sweetener of your choice (such as stevia or erythritol)
- Butter or coconut oil for cooking
- Ingredients for 8 pancakes:
Keep in mind that the batter may be thicker than traditional pancake batter. Also, keto pancakes have more calories than traditional pancakes.
Homemade or commercial batter for weight loss?
Another convenient way to enjoy high-quality pancakes is to use commercial pancake batters. People who follow certain diets can benefit the most. There are protein-rich, gluten-free, vegan, and even keto pancakes!
- 20 grams of protein
- 5 grams of fiber
- no added sugar
- calcium 15% DV
- fewer than 200 calories per serving!
- no saturated fat
- requires only water
- non-GMO Project verified
- USDA organic
- fewer than 200 calories per serving
- calcium 10% DV
- calcium 15% DV
- 5 grams of fiber
- only 0.5 grams of saturated fat
How to eat pancakes for weight loss?
Topping is key for pancakes that are suitable for a low-calorie diet.
Don’t add maple syrup
As mentioned, maple syrup is bad for you while dieting. It’s packed with too many extra calories. Also, sugars in maple syrup can spike blood sugar levels.
Honey is a healthier natural sweetener. But, it’s high in calories as well.
Agave nectar has also 60 calories per serving. Additionally, its regular consumption may stress the liver, as it’s particularly rich in fructose.
Low-calorie syrups with stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit are preferable. Ideally, we should use syrups with fewer than 30 calories per serving.
But, the healthiest sweeteners for your pancakes are high-quality berry jams with no added sugar, like blueberry jam.
There are even fruit spreads with zero calories!
Sprinkle some cinnamon
In addition, you could sprinkle some cinnamon on your pancakes.
Cinnamon regulates postprandial glucose responses, as it has a pretty low glycemic index while being rich in antioxidants.
You should add cinnamon to many carbohydrate-rich foods. For instance, it tastes great with oatmeal.
Starting your day with berries, such as strawberries, cranberries, or blueberries, is ideal for weight loss and good health.
Boosting your antioxidant status in the morning is beneficial for weight loss as well as good health.
Berries are among the richest foods in antioxidant compounds you can eat daily.
Furthermore, they’re naturally low in sugar! They have less sugar than other favorite fruits.
Add seeds & nuts
Also, you could add 1/2 handful of mixed seeds and nuts to your pancakes. They’re particularly rich in various minerals, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. For instance, add walnuts for their high omega-3 content.
Pancakes with plain Greek yogurt is among the most filling foods you can eat for breakfast.
As Greek yogurt is rich in protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and probiotics, it’s good for a lean body. Especially when consumed in the morning with oats, berries, and other fiber-rich foods.
How much can I eat while dieting?
Although pancakes support weight loss, as they’re very nutritious foods, we should be very cautious with portion sizes and the kind of topping.
A calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss.
Too many pancakes with maple syrup or other fattening toppings can certainly make you gain weight.
On the other hand, a small serving with unsweetened Greek yogurt, and some raw fruits or nuts, is a super healthy breakfast that supports weight loss.