Pancake Day

This year, February 28th marks not only the last day before Nutrition Month begins but also the so-called “Pancake Day” for the Commonwealth Nations. Pancake Day, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras,  is the day preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent). “Shrove” comes from the word “shrive”, meaning “to absolve”; traditionally, this was when Christians made a special point of self-examination, considering what wrongs they may need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they wanted to work on. Where does the pancake come in all this? It was a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar in the home before the 40 days of Lent began. Furthermore, some believe the ingredients forming this delicious form of fluff symbolizes the four pillars of Christian faith: eggs for creation, flour as the mainstay of the human diet, salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity.

Beginning in the 1970’s as Nutrition Week, dietitians campaign to raise awareness for the importance of healthy eating and to identify dietitians as the most credible sources of food and nutrition information. Since then, it has grown to become Nutrition Month.  This year, Dietitians of Canada’s campaign is dedicated to helping Canadians Take the Fight out of Food, guiding Canadians through a three-step approach to improve health: Spot the Problem, Get the Facts, Seek Support. In addition, there are five themes to this year’s campaign. Food Fads, Digestive Woes, Picky Eating, Eating and Stress and Managing a Condition. 

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In honour of Pancake Day, I’ve whipped up a quick 10 minute wholesome pancake recipe. I had swapped regular flour for a higher fiber, low glycemic index breakfast food that many picky-eaters are not a fan of: oats! Oats are packed with fiber, provide satiety which can help with weight management, helps with regularity and gut health as well as lowering blood cholesterol and blood sugar management (click here for more information on fiber). Despite most of us knowing all the benefits, for those that do not like oatmeal, it just won’t happen! There is no doubt it can be a challenge getting up in the morning, dealing with the everyday hustles of life, trying to whip up breakfast, get the kids dressed and rush to work, let alone getting the picky kids to eat healthy! So, in welcoming this year’s Nutrition Month, I hope this minimalist recipe (I tried to aim for similar proportions of ingredients to minimize dish-washing or clean up requirements) will help take some of the stress out of eating and encourage those picky eaters to give oatmeal a chance!

6 Ingredient Oatmeal Protein Pancakes

Makes 6 servings. Preparation time 10 minutes. Cook time 10-15 minutes.

Equipment: Measuring Cups, Measuring Spoons, Blender, Flat-Surfaced Frying Pan, Spatula.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed
    • adds an extra punch of fiber (1 Tablespoon gives 2.2g dietary fiber) and omega-3 fats for heart health… plus, gives it a bit of a nutty flavour! 
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk, 1% MF or Skim
    • Tip #1: Choose milk alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk if lactose intolerant. Look to see that there they are fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium so that you do not miss out on the nutrient benefits of milk. Keep in mind that soy milk has a similar amount of protein, however almond milk will have a smidgen less. 
  • 1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt, Plain, 0% or 1% MF
    • Did you know?… Yogurt has less lactose than milk dose, so some people are able to tolerate small amounts of yogurt better than they can tolerate a similar amount of milk!

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Method

  1. Place oats in blender and blend at high speed until flour-like meal.
  2. Add baking powder and ground flaxseed to oat flour, mix on low until well blended.
    Tip #2: For a timesaver trick, make 4-5 times the dry mix, store in a sealed container and keep for later use! 
  3. Mix milk, eggs and greek yogurt in a separate bowl until smooth.  Add into dry mixture until mix in gently just until combined. Set aside for 1-2 minutes to let rest (in the meantime, get creative with your toppings!).
    Tip #3: For a flavour spin, add some spices!
    Cinnamon: 1 Tsp cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg.
    Coco-Matcha: 1 Tbsp matcha powder with a Tbsp of coconut milk, or either on their own.
    Choco-nut: 1 Tbsp coconut flakes and 1 Tbsp of cocoa powder, or either on their own.

    *Please note this recipe will not be your ordinary runny buttermilk pancake batter, it will become more thick given the soluble fiber in oats. *
  4. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/3 cup for each pancake.
  5. Cook for about 1 minute on each side or flip pancake over when rim of the pancake begins to solidify and bubble, then cook for about one minute. Serve warm and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: Per Pancake
Calories: 100 kcal
Fat: 4 g (Saturated Fat: 1g)
Sodium: 195 mg
Carbohydrates: 14 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 7 g
A source of: 

  • Calcium
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Protein

 

Tip #4: To make it a balanced meal, enjoy 1-2 pancakes, choose milk as your beverage to get your calcium intake, and go for fruits and protein for your toppings. Protein helps slow down digestion further, providing more satiety, helps build muscle and aids in glycemic control for the reasons stated above. Some great topping ideas include: Greek yogurt instead of whipping cream, nuts such as almond slices, or nut butters.

Some Topping Ideas to get your inspiration started:

  • Peaches ‘n Cream: add 1/4 cup of greek yogurt and slice up a small peach, sprinkled with some walnuts. This adds 8g protein and 3g fiber.
  • Banana Almond Butter: add a Tablespoon of almond butter and slice half a banana. This adds 5 g of protein and 1g fiber.
  • Merry Berry: 1/2 a cup of mixed fresh or defrosted frozen berries gives 5g fiber! Add a tablespoon of peanut butter to make it a PB and J, this gives it an additional 5g protein and bumps fiber up to 6g.

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Tip #5: Get the kids involved! It’s never too early for having fun in the kitchen, learning about the life skill of cooking and healthy eating. Having fun, being included and engaged in meal preparation are few of many ways to encourage children to be more explorative in their food choices. Have them choose some of the toppings: offer them a variety of choices (ie. giving them a couple of protein choices such as walnuts and pecans, but keep it fun!).  

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Emphasize nuts and protein, however, give the kids some choice. Here, a couple of chocolate chips were added. A healthy relationship with food is often overlooked and is such a critical component of healthy eating.

Enjoy!

 

Citations

Slavin J. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients 2013; 5(4):1417-1435

The InterAct Consortium. Dietary Fiber and Incidendce of Type 2 diabetes in eight European countries: the EPIC-InterAct sStudy and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Diabetologia (2015) 58: 1394. doi:10.1007/s00125-015-3585-9

Brown L, et al. Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 1999; 69(1): 30-42

 

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