Blog Nutrition Are Pancakes Healthy? Unveiling the Science Behind Pancakes to Find Healthier Choices

Are Pancakes Healthy? Unveiling the Science Behind Pancakes to Find Healthier Choices

Are pancakes healthy? It’s a common question for those who are watching their weight yet having those memorable moments from childhood. The memory of smelling your mom’s delicious breakfast pancakes is likely what got you up for school, but can you eat pancakes while trying to lose weight?


Watching your weight may be a good thing. Discovering ways to enjoy the nostalgic good you enjoyed as a child is another. Fortunately, there are ways to bring the two together if you understand what’s in pancakes and what you can do to make them healthier. 

Are Pancakes Healthy for Weight Loss?

Are pancakes healthy when trying to shed a few pounds? Pancakes can be diet-friendly or more nutritious when using alternative recipes, such as:

pancakes healthy breakfast

Is It Good to Eat Pancakes for Breakfast?

Traditional pancakes your mom made typically use white or all-purpose flour. The hard wheat used to make all-purpose flour loses the bran or exterior wheat kernel and germ or part of the inner seed. The flour only has endosperm remaining. 

Unfortunately, the endosperm isn’t the most nutritious part of a wheat kernel (17). The lost bran part of the kernels is where your fiber exists. Consuming wheat flour without bran means you aren’t eating fiber, which slows down digestion, keeps you feeling full for longer, and is good for your digestive system.

The germ part of a wheat plant is where a lot of the healthy fats, antioxidants, various vitamins, and minerals exist. To make all-purpose flour, the bran and germ are stripped away, leaving only the endosperm, which contains mostly starch, along with some protein and vitamins.

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While some of the vitamins and minerals which were removed are added back during processing, the fiber is gone. 

The Mayo Clinic suggests that eating a meal low in fiber might not keep you full long enough to reach the next meal (16). Traditional pancakes on occasion may be okay, but let’s dive deeper into what comes from regular pancakes. 

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Can You Eat Pancakes for Breakfast and Still Lose Weight?

Whether or not you are successful in losing weight depends on your overall diet, not one meal. To determine whether pancakes fit into your weight loss diet is an individual calculation and decision.  The USDA shows the nutritional value of a conventional 6-inch pancake (13):

  • 175 calories
  • 21.8 g carbs
  • 7.47 g total fat (1.63 g saturated fat)
  • 4.93 g protein

Don’t forget to triple these values if you eat three pancakes at breakfast. 

If you are on a strict diet, pancakes may or may not fit well. For example, let’s compare the nutrition allowed on the keto diet

According to Harvard, popular ketogenic diet resources suggest the following macronutrient distribution t on a 2000-calorie keto plan (3):

  • 70-80% or about 165 grams of fat
  • 10-20% or about 75 grams of protein
  • 5-10% or about 40 grams of carbs

Two 6-inch pancakes alone will exceed the daily recommendation for carbs on a 2000-calorie keto diet. Meanwhile, the protein and fat content is low for a keto meal. Also, let’s not forget about the famous toppings on pancakes. According to the USDA, ¼ cup of maple syrup adds (10):

  • 53 g carbs
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g protein
See also
The Newbie's Guide To High-Protein Foods For Muscle Building

Traditional pancakes with maple syrup probably don’t work on a strict low-carb diet like keto. You may be able to enjoy them occasionally on a more flexible weight loss diet, especially one that focuses more on calorie intake rather than specific macronutrients.  

Calories in 1 Pancake

The calories in one 6-inch pancake are 175 (13). According to the National Institute of Health, to lose weight at a safe and sustainable pace, daily calorie intake should be reduced by 500 to 750 calories daily. For many women, this will entail eating 1200-1500 calories per day, while many men and women who weigh more or are more active will consume 1500-1800 calories daily to lose weight (7). 

Eating an average of three 6-inch pancakes for breakfast contributes 525 calories to your daily intake, not accounting for toppings. Meanwhile, a ¼ cup of maple syrup adds 200 calories (10). Pancakes and toppings can add up to be a high-calorie meal.  This is probably okay occasionally on a weight loss diet, especially if you adjust what you’re eating for the rest of the day accordingly. 

pancake carbs

Is It OK to Eat a Pancake Every Day?

Pancakes and their toppings can add up to be a pretty high-calorie meal. If you are trying to lose weight and have a daily calorie goal, a pancake breakfast can take up a significant number of those calories early in the day. This is probably fine occasionally, especially if you adjust what you eat for the rest of the day. 

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Easy Ways To Get More Protein: A Nutritionist’s Guide

However, eating a stack of pancakes every day for breakfast might not be a good idea when you are trying to lose weight. Aside from the high-calorie content, they don’t provide much protein or fiber, which means you may feel hungry again soon after, making you more likely to exceed your daily calorie limit. One day of overeating won’t sabotage your diet or erase all your progress, but it’s probably not a good idea for every day.

One pancake paired with other foods which provide protein and fiber might be a different story – it depends on your individual goals and overall diet.

Read more: Are Smoothies Good For Losing Weight? What Experts Say.

Which Is the Healthiest Breakfast?

Are pancakes healthy if you make some changes? You can eat more nutritious pancakes by substituting ingredients and adding other nutrients to your breakfast. Let’s see the changes you must make to eat healthy pancakes. 

Change the Flour in Pancakes

Harvard suggests substituting all-purpose flour for whole-grain alternatives (17). Some examples of whole grains include:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Whole wheat

Other flour substitutes also work as they contain fewer calories and carbs while being rich in other nutrients. WebMD recommends almond and coconut flour substitutes for lower-carb pancakes (6).

Add Nutrients to Pancake Breakfasts

Increase your pancake nutrition using healthier recipes by supplementing your breakfast or toppings with protein-rich sources, healthy fats, and complex carbs. 

Add Eggs

Try adding an egg to your breakfast. The USDA shares these nutritional values for one large egg (5):

  • 71.5 calories
  • 0.36 g carbs
  • 4.76 g fat
  • 6.4 g protein

pancakes healthy recipe

Change Toppings

Forget sweet toppings. Instead, add an ounce of almonds containing the following (11):

  • 164 calories
  • 6.12 g carbs
  • 14.1 g fat
  • 6.01 g protein
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Also, add fruit to sweeten the deal. Ten raspberries only contain (14):

  • 10 calories
  • 2.26 g carbs
  • 0.124 g fat
  • 0.228 g protein

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5 Healthier Pancakes

Let’s see how you can make healthier pancakes to enjoy your childhood favorite without worrying too much about stagnant weight or weight gain. 

Pancakes Healthy Recipe (9)

Our keto pancakes allow you to enjoy low-carb variations to your breakfast favorite. You’ll also find nutritionally-dense topping alternatives, like sugarless cream, choc chips, butter, or peanut butter, to add more protein to your breakfast.

Pancakes Healthy Protein Recipe (15)

Our protein blueberry pancakes recipes offer sweet, fruity delights when trying to cut carbs and include more protein. Specifically, the flourless protein blueberry pancakes recipe provides 23 grams of protein. 

Pancakes Healthy Breakfast Without Grains (12)

Grain-free pancakes use almond or coconut flour to improve their nutritional value without using grain products (link). Meanwhile, the recipes include maple syrup and honey as optional extras. Use Greek yogurt or eggs to complement grain-free pancakes.

Pancakes Healthy Oats (4)

Rolled oats pancakes have a different recipe using rolled oats, almond milk, and whey protein to increase your protein intake to 20 grams. Try some Greek yogurt or eggs as your supplements instead of syrup. 

Pumpkin Pancakes (8)

Pumpkin pancakes bring more fiber, and you get tons of vitamins A and C. You can also switch the flour to whole wheat, buckwheat, or almond while adding protein with eggs or Greek yogurt. 

See also
High Glutamate Foods: Should You Avoid Them?

Read more: Raw Milk Benefits: Will the Advantages Outweigh the Potential Risks?


Are Buckwheat Pancakes Healthy?

Buckwheat pancakes are made from whole grain flour, which can be healthier than pancakes with all-purpose flour. Harvard suggests using buckwheat flour to eat more fiber, stay satisfied longer, and enjoy denser nutrients (17). 

Are Banana Pancakes Healthy?

There is nothing inherently wrong with banana pancakes, but they may not work on the keto or another carb-restriction diet. The USDA shows that one large banana contains 31 grams of carbs (1). Meanwhile, one 6-inch pancake has 21.8 g of carbs (13). The daily keto carb allowance is only around 40 grams (3). Bananas and regular pancakes combined aren’t low-carb. 

Is Pancakes a Good Cheat Meal?

You can eat whatever you want for a cheat meal. The point is to allow yourself to have something you enjoy occasionally so you don’t feel deprived. If you like pancakes, have them for your cheat meal. 

What Is the Healthiest Way to Eat Pancakes?

Lose maple syrup and traditional pancakes with high-calorie counts (10, 13). Use whole-grain flour with more fiber and denser nutrients (17). Then, add more protein, nuts, and berries to make your pancake meal healthier and more balanced (5, 11, 14). 

The Bottom Line

Traditional pancakes are better enjoyed occasionally, but healthier choices exist. Start experimenting with topping changes and more nutritious recipes to enjoy those nostalgic breakfast treats. Choose one of our recipes and enjoy. 



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Bananas, Raw (2019,
  2. Diabetic Level Glucose Spikes Seen in Healthy People (2018,
  3. Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss | The Nutrition Source (n.d.,
  4. Easy Blueberry Protein Pancakes Recipe (2019,
  5. Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh (2019,
  6. Healthiest Flour for Baking (2023,
  7. Healthy Eating Plan (n.d.,
  8. Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes (n.d.,
  9. Keto Pancakes: All Questions Answered + Recipe And Ingredient List (2022,
  10. Maple Syrup (2019,
  11. Nuts, Almonds (2019,
  12. Paleo-Friendly Grain-Free Pancakes To Enrich Your Diet (2022,
  13. Pancakes, Plain, Prepared from Recipe (2019,
  14. Raspberries, Raw (2019,
  15. The Best Protein Blueberry Pancakes Recipes For Hitting Your Macros Goals (2022,
  16. Weight Loss – Feel Full on Fewer Calories (2023,
  17. Whole Grains | The Nutrition Source (n.d.,

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