Can Pancakes Really be a Healthy Shift Work Superfood?

It’s nearly Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, the day when thousands of households around the world will be frying up and tossing delicious pancakes. In some places, trying to race while doing it as well!
From the simplest lemon and sugar topping, to sophisticated Crepes Suzette pancakes are a favourite food and can be eaten at any time, from breakfast to tea. However, they can be also be high in calories, especially if you top them with a lot of butter, syrup or chocolaty spreads. So, we ask the question, can they really be regarded as a superfood?
Despite their fattening qualities, there are plenty of nutritious versions of pancakes you can make at home that can be tasty, filling and good for you, providing a number of essential nutrients that can really help shift workers get through those gruelling shifts.
Here are some of the facts and figures about pancakes, and some top tips for creating the healthiest and tastiest toppings!

Plain Pancake Facts For Shift Workers

A 100-gram serving of plain pancakes, contains roughly:-

  • 230 calories
  • 6 grams of protein
  • 30 grams of carbohydrates
  • 10 grams of fat

These aren’t all bad for you. The carbohydrates are turned into glucose, which is a good source of energy for the brain. If eaten before a shift, it can really help you to be alert and keep you in a good mood too.
Plain pancakes only provide trace amounts of fiber, but using whole-wheat can be much better for you. A standard serving of whole-wheat pancake can provide 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. This helps to keep you full for longer, and might even help beat the mid-shift craving for high-fat foods!

Healthy Pancake Topping Options

There are all kinds of ways to make your pancake toppings healthier, whilst still remaining tasty, and giving you enough energy you need to make it through the shift.

1. Cinnamon

Research has shown that cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity, which affects how efficiently we processes sugar and carbohydrates. Better insulin sensitivity also means you are less prone to storing body fat. by adding cinnamon to your pancake topping, your blood sugar levels won’t rise as quickly after the meal, making cinnamon a very healthy addition to any pancake topping.

2. Natural Yoghurt

Natural Yoghurt has been shown to improve the immune system, increasing our ability to fight diseases. In the middle of winter, when we are all feeling a little tired and under the weather, any improvement to the immune system is very welcome!

3. Dark Chocolate

Who hasn’t had the chocolate crave in the middle of a night shift? Well, it now turns out that the natural flavonoid content of dark chocolate improves blood flow and the function of blood vessels. This means that dark chocolate improves the delivery of blood and oxygen around the body, reducing blood pressure and improve the health of our hearts. Chocolate lovers of the world, rejoice! Dark chocolate makes a healthy pancake topping and satisfies plenty of other cravings too!

4. Lemon Juice

A classic topping, lemon juice is a natural source of Vitamin C. Apart from helping to fight scurvy, Vitamin C has been shown to reduce stress hormones that have been shown to suppress the immune system and make you more vulnerable to disease. We all know that shift work is stressful, but when you are run down and fatigued, extra Vitamin C can really help to boost your immune system.

5. Natural Syrups

One of the latest innovations in healthy nutrition are known as Zero Syrups. These syrups generally contain zero carbohydrates, zero calories and zero sugar which means you can add it to any dessert or food and it has no impact on calories. They can be high in nutritional values and can also taste good. Maple syrup has been classed as close to a natural syrup, and has high levels of nutrients and antioxidants. So if you are going to sweeten with anything, a good dollop of maple syrup is as good an option as any.

Enjoy A Good Pancake This Year

Whatever you are adding, make sure you keep track of portion sizes when eating pancakes, as even if you make healthier versions of pancakes they can be relatively high in calories. By using some of the healthy options and keeping the portion sizes at bay, you can indulge without the guilt and enjoy a delicious healthy pancakes this Pancake Day.