Everyone needs a break from bacon and eggs once in a while. Almond meal pancakes  (and other low carb pancakes) can be a great way to take that break—if we’re willing to get a little creative with the toppings. Because let’s face it: commercial sugar-free pancake syrups leave a lot to be desired.

Most of those commercial syrups have sugar alcohols in them (usually sorbitol or maltitol). And while that’s a borderline concern for some, I know of at least one brand of “sugar free” syrup that contains trace amounts of sugar and corn syrup! (Yes, they can legally do that and still call it “sugar free.”)

I went away from that one thinking, For this, they want me to pay them more money? There are a kazillion other things I can put on my pancakes!

Here are ten of those alternatives. Some of these suggestions are familiar ideas, but others might not be. They are all foods that can be used for more than just pancakes and waffles, so they won’t be special purchases. And these toppings will turn those pancakes into a heartier, more nutritious meal than that syrup would have—especially if you mix and match!

Ten Low Carb, Sugar-Free Pancake Toppings

Note: This list is in addition to any butter. (Few people put just butter on their pancakes!)

  1. Fresh fruit. Yes, fruit can be high in carbohydrates, but that’s what portion control is for. Even on the days that I have to switch to a different topping for that second helping of pancakes, the fruit is definitely worth it!
  2. Homemade fruit syrups. Sometimes you want something that will soak into the pancake. In that case, it’s time to take the fruit a step further. Use Laura Dolson’s Easy Three Berry Syrup or Sauce as a model, then improvise with the fruit and sweetener of your choice.
  3. Chopped nuts. Granted, chopped nuts work best in conjunction with other toppings. But can’t you picture it? A stack of pancakes with butter, berry syrup, a dollop of homemade whipped cream, and chopped nuts scattered across it all? Who would believe this could be good for you?
  4. Nut and seed butters. If you use nut or seed butters, I challenge you to try them on pancakes at least once. Spread some on each pancake in the stack, then add any other toppings. It’s a great way to boost the protein and micronutrients!
  5. Homemade sugar-free chocolate chips. Any adult who has eaten out with a child is probably familiar with those teddy bear-shaped chocolate pancakes topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips. (Talk about a sugar rush!) We’re so used to seeing chocolate teamed with junk that we tend to forget that the chocolate itself can be good for us. Once we remove the sugar from the equation, who wouldn’t want a small handful of dark chocolate antioxidants to help start their day?
  6. Homemade chocolate sauces. If you haven’t made any chocolate chips lately, what about some chocolate sauce? Try the ganache recipe that goes with the mini-cheesecakes over at Healthy Indulgences; add extra cream if you need to thin the sauce.
  7. Homemade sugar-free whipped cream. This is so easy to make, and will keep for a week or two in the refrigerator. Plan one or two evening desserts that will also take whipped cream, then make those pancakes decadent!
  8. Unsweetened yogurt. Some people prefer yogurt to whipped cream. Whether you’re using “regular” or Greek—or even soy!—adding a little “culture” to your pancakes can be a great treat.
  9. Cheese. Yes, cheese.  I’m thinking cheddar melted over almond pancakes sounds great. So does a mild white cheese crumbled in with fresh strawberries. (Then there are all the possibilities when combined with the next entry….)
  10. Meats. Think of those breakfast sandwiches on pseudo-maple pseudo-pancakes at the fast food places. Real pancakes, topped with sausage crumbles and cheese, sound much better than that fast food junk! Then, once we’ve gone that far, we can really get creative: chicken, ham, you name it. Sometimes savory, instead of sweet, is the way to go.

I hope this list has jogged your memory and/or sparked your imagination. As mentioned earlier, I’ve only scratched the surface here; there are numerous other possibilities for healthy pancake toppings.

Dive in, experiment, and then let me know: what do you like on your pancakes?

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