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Hello dear friends, I’m Filippo from Italy!
Like a lot of my Italian compatriots, I have a real passion for food and cuisine!
Recently in my life I’ve lost a lot of weight to improve the quality of my health. it was tough but it was worth it.
To obtain this result, the first thing I had to keep under control was the quality of my meals, so I gave up a lot of fatty and unhealthy foods.
But no one, even on a diet, should lost his passions! Mostly if you have a beautiful passion like cooking!
PANCAKES are one of my favorite breakfast ever.
I like the shape, the taste, the smell and I like to prepare them. It’s always a joy to bring to the table a lot of fragrant pancakes and see the smiles of your family!
But, we have to say that, the classic recipe involves sugar, butter and white flour, ingredients that don’t help you to stay on a diet.
No! I do not give up to my pancake, never!
I had to find a new recipe that will provide me a tasty AND healthy breakfast. So it was.
Follow me, dear friends!
Step 1: Shopping List – No Saturated Fats!
First, let’s see what we need, then I’ll explain you why this recipe is dietetic!
The ingredients are cheap and easy to find.
- 140gr (5.00oz) of whole-wheat flour
- 30gr (1.06oz) of whole brown sugar. It’s the same quality I’ve used in my Magic Rub Dust recipe, have a look!
- 2 big spoon of organic honey. Mine is bought directly from the beekeeper!
- 200ml (6.8oz) of low fat milk. Normal milk is good as well, but since we are making dietetic pancakes, the low fat is the best choice. In Italy is called “latte scremato” (skimmed milk)
- 7-10gr (0.25-0.35oz) of sweet baking powder. The best choice for this recipe is the one flavored with vanilla
- 2 big, fresh eggs
- All of the cinnamon that you want. I like to put a TON of cinnamon XD
- A pinch of salt
Also, you’ll need:
- Digital scale
- Spoon to mix it up
- Scoop to pour the pancake mix
- Small pan and a bit of olive oil
- Spatula to flip the pancakes. I suggest a plastic one, since is more flexible than an iron one.
This amount will result in 8-12 pancakes, depending on the size.
As you can see there is absolutely no butter, which is a saturated fat and therefore should be avoided in a dietetic recipe. We won’t use it even for greasing the pan (we’ll use olive oil instead).
Studies show that saturated fat acids increase not only the cholesterol, but also the risk of cardiovascular diseases, in particular ischemic heart disease and its fearsome consequences (angina pectoris, myocardial infarction and stroke).
You can find info about saturated fat acids in this page (Italian): http://www.my-personaltrainer.it/nutrizione/grassi-saturi.html
Obviously, a spoon of butter won’t cause you a stroke, but It’s important to know this differences to help yourselves to create a healthy diet!
But the absence of butter it’s not the only key passage for this recipe.
The real difference are whole carbohydrates.
Click next to discover why ;)
Step 2: Whole – Why?
This passage is not fundamental for the recipe, but shows you the great benefits of using whole carbohydrates instead of refined ones. If you are not interested, you can skip directly to the next step.
What’s the big deal about whole-grain carbohydrates (flour, sugar…)?
You can think that it’s more “organic” and therefore healthier.
Well, in fact organic has nothing to do with wholemeal.
Organic is how the raw material of the product (like grain) is cultivated/obtained (without pesticides or chemical additives for example), while the word whole represent a different kind of product, that usually has undergone less processing.
Normal carbohydrates (white bread, white flour, classic sugar…ecc…) were subjected to a refining process that eliminates the majority of dietary fiber. This process is done in order to make the products less perishable and more appealing.
But the dietary fiber has A LOT of of useful benefits:
- increases the feeling of satiety and ease bowel movements
- reduces the absorption of fat and cholesterol
- reduces the absorption of carcinogens
- reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer
This page (in Italian) shows the importance of dietary fiber in a balanced diet: http://www.my-personaltrainer.it/Importanza-della-fibra-alimentare.htm
Due to this benefits, I always try to use whole carbohydrates instead of refined ones when possible. The taste is different, we can say it’s more “rustic”, and I love it!
The dietary fiber is not the only primary resource lost during the refining, process. There’s a long list of nutrient, unfortunately.
On the left we have the name of the nutrient, on the right the percentage lost during the refining.
Source: American Journal of clinical Nutrition 24:562, 1971
- Thiamine (vit. B1): 77%
- Riboflavin (vit. B2): 80%
- Niacin (vit. B3 or PP): 81%
- Vit. B6: 76%
- Pantothenic Acid (B5): 50%
- Folina (B9): 67%
- Alpha tocopherol (vit. E): 86%
- Betain: 23%
- Choline: 30%
- Calcium: 60%
- Phosphorus: 71%
- Magnesium: 85%
- Potassium: 77%
- Manganese: 86%
- Iron: 76%
- Zinc: 78%
As you can see, it’s a long list of nutrient buddies that we lost in the refining process.
Last, whole carbohydrates are also called “slow-release charbohydrates”.
While refined one provide a quick boost of energy (very good if you are going out for a run), the whole ones provides energy in a more slow and homogeneous way during the day, helping you to fight fatigue and limiting the accumulation of fats.
Well, now that you know WHY we are using whole flour and sugar, let’s move on to another friend: honey!
Step 3: Honey
This passage is not fundamental for the recipe, but shows you the great benefits of using honey in our dietetic recipe. If you are not interested, you can skip directly to the next step.
Honey is nature's sweetener.
Did you know that raw honey never expires?
The nectar brought to the hive by the bees is about 60% water. The bees "cure" it to about 18-19% water. At this level of water and with a pH of 3-4, the honey is very stable and can last for literally centuries (it was found in Egyptian tombs in excellent conditions).
It's an "Energy food" that consists of simple sugars (fructose-glucose) easily digestible, and contains: enzymes, vitamins, trace minerals, antibiotic-like substances and substances which may encourage the growth processes.
It should be consumed with moderation because of its high sugar levels, but there are a lot of areas of the body where the honey exerts its benefits:
- Upper respiratory tract: decongesting, soothing cough
- Muscles: increased physical strength and endurance
- Heart: cardiotropic action
- Liver: protective and detoxifying
- Digestive system: protective action, stimulating and regulating
- Kidneys: diuretic
- Blood: anti-anemic action
- Bones: fixation of calcium and magnesium
So, when in doubt about using classic sugar or honey, HONEY is without doubt the best choice! :)
Try it also in coffee, yum! :P
Let's move on with the recipe.
Step 4: Create the Creamy Pancakes Mix!
It doesn’t need a Michelin-starred chef to prepare our pancakes!
Let’s start mixing the whole flour with the two eggs in our bowl. This will create a thick paste that you can mix with energy without fear of soiling everywhere.
Mix it up until the paste is homogeneous and without flour lumps.
Then, you can add the milk to obtain a more liquid mixture.
After that, add the sugar, two spoons of honey, the baking powder and cinnamon at will! As I said before, I use a LOT of cinnamon ‘cause I really love the taste! :D
At the end, we also put a pinch of salt that helps to balance the flavors.
Mix everything to create a smooth and delicious pancake compound, ready to be cooked!
If you followed the right amount of ingredients, the mix should be not too thick and not too liquid. Just right!
NOTE: we only add the pinch of salt at the end to avoid it to touch the baking powder directly! In fact, salt would kill the little yeast buddies, making the final outcome worse.
Step 5: Greasy Pan, Sweety Cooking
Now we have to cook our mix.
You have to find a scoop of the right size to pour the mix from the bowl to the pan, you might have to experiment a bit. A scoop to large will pour too much mix on the pan, while a little one will make you to add the mix more than one time.
I’ve found a plastic scoop of the right size in my kitchen.
Grease the pan with a drizzle of olive oil, helping with your hands to coat it well. Don’t mind if you get your fingers a little dirty, it’s the fun part of cooking! :D
NOTE: Why olive oil and not butter? Read Step 1 to find out!
Now turn on the stove with a weak fire under the pan and wait 3-4 minutes, until the olive oil starts to pop on the pan’s surface.
It’s time to pour our mix.
To obtain a great pancake, I suggest to follow these steps:
- With the right hand, take a scoop of the mix from the bowl
- With the left hand on the handle, lift the pan from the fire
- Now pour the mix with the scoop, while making LONG & SLOW circular movements with the pan
This will distribute the mix, making it round on the hot surface.
Now put the pan back on the weak fire and wait.
Personally, I prefer pancakes when they are a little undercooked, because the “burnt” will cover other flavors. Depending on your taste, wait 2-4 minutes and then flip on the other side.
The plastic spatula is more handy than the iron one, cause it can bend and easily reach all of the surface of the pancake.
Wait the same time for the other side: your pancake is ready!
During the cooking process you will see a lot of bubbles popping out the mix: it’s the baking powder, that creates a more voluminous and soft dough.
The first one is always the TEST-PANCAKE, which absorb the major quantity of olive oil: after that, the pan will stay hot and enough greased to obtain fantastic pancakes!
Step 6: Add Some Taste
Now your new, whole and super dietetic pancakes are ready.
Try them just plain to appreciate the new taste: it's less sweet than normal pancakes, with a rustic aftertaste tanks to the particular quality of sugar.
They are rich in complex protein (eggs and milk) that will help you build strong muscles! :D
And provide you a great amount of slow-release carbohydrates (sugar and flour) that will release energy all day long, and a boost of fast and healthy carbohydrates from honey, making them the perfect breakfast!
Also, the whole flour gives a good feeling of satiety: never leave for work with an empty stomach!
You might want to add some taste to the basic one, I suggest you this possibilities:
- Classic syrup, but in very small quantities. Syrup is extremely rich in sugar and calories, there are light versions that work just as well
- Low fat yogurt mixed with a little bit of honey, a fantastic sweet cream
- Fresh fruit, strawberries or cherries are great with pancakes
- Fruit jam, always a fantastic way to start the day
- Plain honey, but just like the syrup do not go overboard :D
Here it is, dear friends!
Try this extremely easy recipe and find out a new healthy meal!
From Italy, this is Filippo.
Ciao a tutti!