Healthy Pancakes for Runners Recipe
After I finish a long run of any significant length, all I want to do is go home and eat pancakes. Throw in some eggs, bacon or sausage, big plate of fruit and a hot cup of coffee and that’s just about as close to a perfect brunch as it gets. Pancakes, healthy pancakes that is, make an outstanding recovery food for runners.
Healthy pancakes have a good balance of carbohydrates and protein to boost immediate recovery nutrition. They can stock up your glycogen stores before a race, or replenish them after. Consider adding pancakes to your carb-loading menu.
My Favorite Pancakes for Runners
It’s no secret I love pancakes. We have several pancake recipes on Minneapolis Running. It’s what inspired the Mill City Running flap jack run. Yet most pancakes aren’t made with quality ingredients that you can feel good about eating.
This past weekend, I wanted a new pancake recipe. Something I could enjoy as part of carb-load before my next big race. I wanted to find a healthy pancake recipe that would also taste amazing.
My wife is brilliant at taking most recipes and making them healthy (or at least healthier). Simply substitute a few ingredients here, or reducing others, can make a big difference.
What Constitutes Healthy Pancakes?
There was some debate in our household about what is considered “healthy” when it comes to pancakes. We decided they should be;
- made with whole grain flour (which has more fiber, less sugar, more nutrients).
- have low (or no) sugar (reducing the spike in blood sugar levels).
- loaded with protein (which helps rebuild muscle fibers broken down during the run).
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that endurance athletes require 2.3 to 5.5 grams of carbohydrates for each pound of body weight and 0.5 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.
Rough math on this recipe – each pancake has approximately 9g of protein and 20g of carbs. That’s a pretty good ratio for recovery. Factoring in additional carbs from syrup and any fruit toppings, it’s a close to a perfectly balanced meal.
Inventing Healthy Pancakes
My wife is a huge Ina Garten fan, and pulled out a Barefoot Contessa “Family Style” recipe book. The following recipe is an adaptation of the Banana Sour Cream Pancakes recipe, (p. 177).
We used whole wheat flour, 1/3 the amount of sugar (but could have used none), and substituted Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I also added protein powder and used soy milk.
- 1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup milk (you’ll probably need to add a little more)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- lemon zest (as much as you want)
- 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (I like Garden of Life but any will do)
* You could also add a few tbsp of chia seeds to this.
* If you’re gluten free, dairy free or vegan, there are certainly alternatives to all of the ingredients.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together.
- Mix wet ingredients together.
- Mix wet and dry together, just until combined.
- Cook like regular pancakes.
You can click here and we’ll email you a downloadable PDF of this recipe.
Ina’s recipe says to use butter in the pan instead of cooking spray. I tried it and yup, they taste better (and real butter is now good for you).
You really can’t go wrong on toppings for pancakes. On this particular day, we used bananas, strawberries and walnuts. Runner’s World actually has a great infographic detailing what toppings will help with various nutritional needs. I also always prefer real maple syrup to the fake stuff. It tastes better, and it’s natural (but still has lots of sugar so use sparingly).
Your Healthy Pancakes
What amazingly healthy pancakes have you come across? Share it below, and perhaps we’ll add it to pancake archives.