I use boxed pancake mixes if I am going to make pancakes on school mornings. I’ve tried all of the all-natural brands available and I’m partial to Kodiak Cakes, a family run business based in Utah – you can find them in major grocery stores around the country or very affordably online at Amazon.com (you do have to buy three boxes). The mix uses two kinds of whole grain flour (wheat and oat) and has non-fat dry milk, dry honey, leavening, powdered egg whites and salt. I like the fact that the mix has no ingredients other than what you would expect – it’s exactly what you’d make in your own kitchen (No, I don’t work for Kodiak Cakes, nor do I know anyone who does. They have never given me any products to sample. I found them on my own.) As a comparison, Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Pancake mix has no preservatives but does not use whole grain flour and includes three or four ingredients I cannot pronounce – which is a deal breaker for me.
Boxed mixes, no matter how good, tend to taste like exactly what they are, boxed pancake mixes. Not all that surprising, really. Over the years I’ve come upon a magical trio of ingredients that can be added to a boxed pancake mix – and suddenly it tastes like something I would have made myself. Not only that, the trio listed below gives the pancakes a needed protein boost, as well as additional fiber and vitamins. Give this a shot. It’s easy – and I think you’ll like the end result.
Three key ingredients to have on hand to improve the nutritional value and flavor of boxed pancake mixes.
- Apple Sauce or Pear Sauce. I keep organic, apple and pear sauce in a six-pack of 4-oz cups in my pantry, not because we eat applesauce on its own very often, but because I add it to baked goods quite regularly. It adds flavor, fiber, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A and can often replace 1/3 to a half of the fat called for in a given recipe. I choose a brand with no added sugar. Trader Joe’s organic apple sauce has three ingredients, organic apples, organic apple juice and organic natural flavor.
- Vanilla bean paste. Not vanilla extract, but its better flavor first cousin, vanilla bean paste makes pretty much anything that calls for vanilla taste even better. It is a bit like using vanilla beans, but far simpler, and less expensive. I’ve only ever bought Nielsen-Masey Vanilla Bean Paste. I’ve seen it at Surfas, Whole Foods and online at Amazon.
- Buttermilk. Buttermilk has 100 calories per cup, 2 grams of fat, and 8 grams of protein. It lasts a long time in the fridge, and is very inexpensive. Using it in a standard family sized pancake recipe (described below) adds 24 grams of protein to breakfast.
Healthy Boxed Pancake Mix– Pumped Up
- 3 cups pancake mix (I prefer Kodiak Cakes whole grain mixes, but you can use any boxed mix – let me know which one you prefer)
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
- One 4-ounce container organic apple or pear sauce (we like the pear sauce flavor a bit better, but any of the organic fruit sauces will work)
Heat griddle to 350 degrees.
Whisk everything together in a large mixing bowl. Cook pancakes on griddle. Serve with real maple syrup. EAT.