It’s pancake day! Or Shrove Tuesday.
Shrove Tuesday is the always the day before Ash Wednesday, which heralds the start of Lent. It is thought to have started from the tradition of using up rich foods such as eggs, butter and milk, in preparation for the fasting period of Lent.
The word Shrove is a derivation of the word Shrive which means to confess your sins. But does eating pancakes need to be sinful?
Pancakes are still made from the traditional flour, eggs, milk and salt but these days with many people avoiding gluten, alternatives to wheat flour such as buckwheat, rice, or coconut flour can be used, Gluten Free recipe to try.
But it’s what to top them with that divides opinion. As does the thickness and texture. The Brits and the French tend to prefer thinner pancake or crepe which is folded over, whereas the Americans prefer a small, thicker pancake – what we would call a drop scone. Some people prefer sweet pancakes, others prefer savoury.
But whether you prefer the thin, British pancake or the thick American style pancake, it’s the topping (or the contents if you like to fold your pancake) that can do all the damage.
Personally, I don’t think you can beat the traditional lemon juice and sugar, and as long as you go have just a light sprinkling of sugar, this is really not so unhealthy. You could always replace the sugar with Xylitol, a low calorie sweetener made from the bark of birch trees which doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels or rot your teeth like sugar.
Other people however prefer to pile on all sorts of indulgences like maple syrup, bananas, cream, chocolate sauce etc., and that’s when the calories, fat and sugar really start to add up. Why not replace these with some healthier swaps such as those below:
Healthy Pancake Toppings
• A compote of mixed berries
• Grilled peach or nectarine sprinkled with cinnamon and a little brown sugar
• Stewed apple or pear
• Slices of mango, papaya and kiwi with a sprinkle of lime juice and a spoonful of coconut yogurt
• Banana mashed with almond or cashew nut butter
Instead of cream use:
• Greek yogurt
• Coconut yogurt (Coyo has a wonderful creamy texture and sweet taste despite having no added sugar)
• Crème Fraiche
• Cottage cheese (also great with savoury pancakes)
Instead of commercial chocolate sauce:
• Make your own using good quality dark chocolate or 50/50 milk/dark
• Just shave/grate some solid dark chocolate over your topping
• Coyo do a nice Chocolate coconut yogurt
And for some additional protein and good fats, why not sprinkle some crushed pistachio nuts over the top, or some toasted sesame seeds?
If savoury pancakes are your thing, there is so much choice, but softer vegetables such as peppers, courgettes, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions go very well. Or make a ratatouille type filling. For extra yumminess sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese or goats cheese, or mozzarella.
Healthy Pancakes was written by our Guest Blogger Judy Merrick. Judy is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Naturopath practicing in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. She studied for 4 years and graduated in Nutrition and Naturopathy from the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London.
Registered Nutritional Therapist, Naturopath
Dip CNM, mBANT, CNHC
Tel: 07847 209204