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Waffles and pancakes don’t usually rank high on any healthy-breakfast list—especially if a waitress named Marge is bringing you stack after butter-and-syrup drenched stack at the local greasy spoon. But if you prepare them at home, neither has to be such a guilty pleasure.
So which one should you whip up if you’re looking for better choice to power you through a workout? While they have similar ingredients—they’re both made up mostly of eggs, flour, milk, and butter or oil—you’ll have better luck turning pancakes into a nutrient dynamo.
“There are a lot more ways you can tweak a pancake,” says Amy Goodson, a Dallas-based sports dietitian who has worked with the dallas Cowboys. For more fiber, skip refined flour and use a quality flour source like oat, buckwheat, or chickpea, recommends Goodson. Also, sub in a nonflavored whey protein for half the flour to amp up the protein and make it a more complete meal.
For toppings on either pancakes or waffles, try adding a protein-and-fat combo like peanut butter and banana. Or, for a lower-calorie protein-and-fiber option, go with Greek yogurt and berries. And if you just can’t fathom your slapjacks without maple syrup, Goodson says go for it—but only if you’re pouring it on the healthy version. “If you switched out the base and made the pancakes nutrient-rich, adding a little bit of sugar doesn’t seem as bad.”