Flapjack Fever: Even pancakes can be a healthy breakfast

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Despite what we’ve been led to believe for way too long, eggs, in my opinion, are Mother Nature’s most perfect food. And I try to incorporate them into my life daily. However, I have to say, the kids just don’t love having eggs for breakfast every day. And since I am not a big fan of dry cereal, we get creative at my house.

If asked what they want for breakfast, without fail the kids all wail, “Pancakes!,” and it’s because of the “cake” part. Well, the cake doesn’t have to be forbidden, it just has to be reworked to make sure it’s not a sugary treat that will send their blood sugar soaring.

There’s nothing easier than whipping up a fresh batch of pancakes or waffles and then freezing them for use on busy mornings. Pop them in the toaster oven just like you would a commercial frozen product for a treat that is not only wholesome but delicious. With oatmeal, eggs and nuts, my pancakes can keep you full throughout the morning or can serve as a great “breakfast for supper” option.

So let me tell you why I love eggs so much. For one, they’re just filled with vitamins and minerals. Folate, phosphorus and vitamins A, B5, B12 and B2. One little egg provides 15 percent of an adult’s recommended daily allowance of B2 for the day! A large egg also provides 22 percent of our daily needs for selenium, which protects cells from damage.

And speaking of protection, eggs yolks have huge amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. These are powerful antioxidants that help protect the retina of the eye. But, actually, I started eating eggs for the protein. I needed that protein hit to help me stabilize my blood sugar each morning. It’s the same reason I’m drawn to oatmeal and nuts.

While I prefer walnuts for their taste, we have someone in our family with a walnut allergy. So when he’s eating, we switch to almonds. Both bring their own health properties to the table. Walnuts are filled with magnesium, protein, calcium and fiber. Almonds have all of that, plus a nice punch of iron. Nuts also contain the right fats, the kind that keep you satisfied until the next meal.

The key to all of this is to not ruin the pancakes with toppings. I do it with fruit and sugar-free options. I’ll give you a great base; what you do from here is all up to you and yours.

Pancakes or Waffles

Makes eight five-inch pancakes

1 cup oatmeal, pulsed in the food processor until it’s a flour

½ cup walnuts or almonds (pulsed in the food processor until they’re finely ground but not turned into nut butter)

2 eggs

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup buttermilk (or you can use soy, almond or coconut milk)

2 teaspoons sweetener (brown sugar, stevia, sucralose, etc.)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons oil (coconut, olive, walnut, etc.)

Since I’ve dirtied the food processor anyway to pulse the oats and then the nuts, I just add my wet ingredients in to save on another bowl. If needed, add water until the batter reaches the consistency your family likes best. I prefer a “thicker” pancake.

Make the pancakes by pouring 1/3 cup onto a heated skillet (or waffle iron) that has been sprayed with oil. Watch carefully until the batter begins to bubble on the edge (this will be less than 3 minutes). Flip and cook until done (another 60 seconds or so) on the other side. Serve with your favorite toppings. Sliced bananas are excellent on these pancakes!

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