Pancakes!

No matter how you flip it, flapjacks are a family favourite.

There’s no denying the appeal of pancakes, whether you prefer a thick stack of hot cakes topped with maple syrup or thin crepes that have been rolled and stuffed with savoury ingredients. The sheer number of pancake recipes out there ensure that there’s a pancake for every person and for every taste. While pancakes aren’t always a bastion of healthy food choices (hello, pancakes topped with chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and whipped cream) a few smart ingredient swaps will ensure pancakes remain a regular part of your meal plan.

A brief history of Pancake Day

Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday, takes place 47 days before Easter Sunday (which means the date can occur in February or March depending on when the Easter weekend falls) and is considered a feast day before Lent begins. As Lent is a time for abstaining, Pancake Day was a good excuse for people to use up all of the ingredients in their house before fasting for the next 40 days of Lent. In popular culture, Pancake Day is now celebrated as a good excuse to make and enjoy eating pancakes in all of their many forms.

Choose high-flavour and healthy toppings

Pancakes don’t have to be considered junk food and in fact, there are tons of healthy toppings that can transform pancakes into smart meal choices. Instead of pouring on the maple syrup or honey, look to fresh fruit for plenty of sweet flavour. Sliced bananas and fresh or frozen berries are good choices as is unsweetened pear or applesauce. Creamy and rich vanilla Greek yogourt (or the flavour of your choice) adds extra protein and calcium without the high fat content of whipping cream. Love pancakes that have been filled with hazelnut chocolate spread? Add dark chocolate chips to the pancake batter as it cooks. You’ll still get that satisfying hit of chocolate without going way over your daily SmartPoints budget.

Try getting savoury

Use a simple crepe recipe like this one for oka cheese and scallion crepes next time you’re in the mood for something rich and savoury. The filling possibilities for savoury crepes are practically endless, including shredded pork or turkey breast, garlic prawns, stir-fried veggies, baked and diced tofu or refried beans with salsa and roasted corn. You can also make crepes in a cast iron pan, top with your choice of ingredients, lightly sprinkle with cheese and finish it off by broiling the entire crepe until the cheese melts.

Experiment with pancake recipes

Pancake recipes can be customized to include many different types of flour (including gluten-free options), experiment with buckwheat, chickpea flour, quinoa flour, and spelt flour to see which types of flour make the best pancakes. Pancakes are easily veganized, using bananas and ground flax seeds as binders in place of eggs and milk. For extra nutrients and flavour add grated carrots, zucchini, or parsnip to the pancake batter. Roasted sweet potatoes, yams and even eggplant can be folded into the pancake batter for added fibre and colour.