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Guilt-Free Pancakes

Photograph by Morena Escardo

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What we eat in the morning determines our blood sugar levels throughout the whole day. This will affect our energy, mood and appetite. In other words, depending on what you and your family eat first thing in the morning, you'll need more or less coffee to get through the day, crave more or less junk food and sweets, and get along better—or worse—with each other. Your kids will also do better at school with a proper breakfast, which is a very big deal.

Yes, breakfast is that important.

A healthy, balanced breakfast should not have too much sugar or processed carbs—and pancakes, the ultimate kid-friendly morning treat, are most often full of both. Pancakes are usually made with processed flour and sugar, and then drenched in syrup with all kinds of unhealthy sweeteners—including high fructose corn syrup, if your maple syrup of choice isn't real maple syrup. Even so, real maple syrup should also be a limited addition to your family's diet because of its high sugar content.

RELATED: Mexican Chocolate Overnight Oats Recipe

However, there are ways to turn this morning staple into a healthier breakfast for all. Swapping regular flour for brown rice flour will allow people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity enjoy the morning pancake ritual, too. Adding fruit for sweetness or a little honey is another way. Lucuma powder, made from the Peruvian lucuma fruit, can also add a maple-like flavor to your pancake batter.

If your kids have never tried the real thing, they'll love these. If they're used to regular pancakes, changing to a healthier version may take some getting used to, but sooner or later, it will become a real treat for them too. Experiment with different fruits, natural sweeteners and gluten-free flours until you find your favorite combination.

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RECIPE: Guilt-Free Pancakes

Yields 8 pancakes

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 ripe bananas, divided (1/2 a banana in the batter, and 1 1/2 bananas sliced for garnishing)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon lucuma powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup ripe mango (chopped)
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 4 teaspoons ghee, coconut oil or butter (use 1/2 teaspoon per pancake)

Directions

  1. Process all ingredients (except strawberries, honey, ghee and mango) in a blender until smooth (use only 1/2 a banana). You may need to pause it and stir with a spatula a few times to keep the dry ingredients from sticking to the sides of the blender.
  2. Add the mango and process for about three seconds.
  3. Heat 1/2 teaspoon ghee, coconut oil, or butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat.
  4. Add 1/4 cup pancake batter, spread it with a spoon or spatula to form a circle, and cook for three minutes, or until you can easily turn it with a spatula.
  5. Turn the pancake and cook the other side for two more minutes.
  6. Transfer to a plate, add ½ teaspoon more ghee, coconut oil, or butter to the pan, and repeat. Do this with the rest of the batter until you run out.
  7. Serve the pancakes with strawberries and the remaining 1 1/2 bananas sliced on top, drizzled with honey.
Photograph by Morena Escardo
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