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How to enjoy a healthy Pancake Day

Tamara Willner
Written by

Tamara Willner

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

4 min read
Last updated November 2023

Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) marks the beginning of Lent and the countdown to Easter. It can be a fun time to relax, celebrate, and make pancakes with family or friends.

Of course, the occasional indulgence is part of living a balanced lifestyle. If you choose to indulge on Pancake Day, be sure to enjoy your pancakes mindfully and without the guilt.

Introducing healthy habits shouldn’t leave you feeling restricted. Instead, they should allow you to enjoy life while just making small changes that, over time, become second nature.

For those of us who have particular health goals, it might seem like we can’t join in because we’re worried about going off track and then harbouring feelings of guilt.

This is certainly not the case, as it’s possible to celebrate and enjoy pancake day without overindulging in sugar or ultra-processed foods. If we don’t allow ourselves the flexibility to join in on celebrations and social events, it can mean we feel deprived and start to question whether we want to continue our lifestyle changes in the long run.

If you’re looking for a way to join in on Pancake Day with healthier alternatives that are lower in sugar and carbohydrates, this is definitely possible!

This guide will cover the best way to enjoy a healthy pancake day whether you are cooking at home or eating out.

Healthy pancake recipes

Science suggests that a lower-carbohydrate diet is the most effective for weight loss and blood sugar control, as well as the best way to reduce cravings.

If you’re making your own pancake recipe and want to reduce the amount of sugar and carbohydrates, consider swapping flour and sugar for oats and bananas (like we do with our blueberry pancakes below).

Our qualified nutrition specialists* have put together three lower-carb, healthy, satisfying pancake recipes to try if you’re wanting to practise your healthy habits this pancake day. For full recipes, click on the links:

1) Skillet chocolate chip pancake

Almond flour pancake

This chocolate chip skillet pancake is bound to be a family favourite. By swapping normal flour for almond flour and oats, these pancakes are a much lower carbohydrate option than traditional pancakes. They’ll also keep you fuller for longer.

2) Spinach pancakes

Spinach pancakes

These savoury pancakes are a bright green, satisfying option. Spinach is a great non-starchy vegetable to add to your meals. Feta adds a unique, tangy flavour to these pancakes and provides a source of protein and healthy fats, leaving us feeling fuller for longer and experiencing fewer cravings. Have these pancakes for a meal or have ½-1 for a satisfying snack.

3) Blueberry oat pancakes

Blueberry pancakes

These pancakes make a delicious breakfast option and are great for the whole family. All berries also contain less sugar compared with other fruits and paired with a healthy fat and protein source (like natural yoghurt) the sugar is digested more slowly, leaving us feeling fuller for longer. Have these pancakes for a meal or have ½-1 for a satisfying snack.

*Second Nature coaches are all UK registered dietitians or nutritionists. This means they have completed university accredited degrees to gain this professional title. However, coaches are not registered in the US, so don’t meet the regulatory requirements to be considered US registered dietitians or nutritionists.

What if I’m eating out?

If you’re going out for a meal to celebrate, take a look at our general guide on healthy eating out.

When it comes to specifically ordering pancakes in a restaurant or cafe, consider some of the following ideas:

Opt for natural yoghurt and berries

If you’d like sweet toppings, ask if it’s possible to have your pancake with plain yoghurt and raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries.

Pancakes are mostly flour, which means they’re high in carbohydrates (which are broken down into glucose in the bloodstream) and will cause a spike in our blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar is consistently high or fluctuating it can have a number of negative effects, including reduced energy levels and increased cravings.

By eating a source of carbohydrates (pancakes) with a source of protein and healthy fats (natural, unsweetened yoghurt), it slows our digestion, meaning less of a spike in our blood sugar levels. On top of this, berries contain less sugar compared with other fruits, such as mangos or kiwis, and are full of vitamins and minerals.

Consider a savoury pancake

If you don’t have a huge sweet tooth, consider opting for savoury toppings on your pancakes from the menu, like our spinach pancakes. In particular, restaurants or cafes that offer crepes on the menu often provide delicious savoury options.

Choosing vegetables and a healthy fat or protein source, such as cheese and spinach or cheese and mushrooms, means you’ll reduce the total sugar content of your meal and feel fuller for longer. That way, you can still enjoy the pancake day celebration but also know you’ve chosen a balanced meal that will nourish your body.

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Take home message

  • The occasional indulgence is part of living a balanced lifestyle.
  • If you choose to indulge on Pancake Day, be sure to enjoy your pancakes mindfully and without the guilt.
  • Even if we have particular health goals, we can still join in on the Pancake Day celebrations by making small changes to our recipes or orders.
  • Consider trying one of our healthy pancake recipes.
  • If we eat out on Pancake Day, we can swap sugary toppings for yoghurt and berries, or try a savoury pancake to reduce the amount of sugar we’re eating.

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