By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist
Yum. Who doesn’t love pancakes? Packed with a little more protein and a lot of flavor, these healthy flapjacks are the perfect way to start your day.
- 1 & ½ cups quick cooking oats
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup low fat ricotta cheese (or low fat cottage cheese)
- ½ cup ground flax seed
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- Coconut oil for skillet
- Blend oats in at medium speed until they resemble coarse flour.
- Add eggs, ricotta, ground flax seed, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend until well mixed.
- Spread about½ teaspoon of coconut oil in large cast-iron (or non-stick) skillet using a paper towel to coat pan evenly.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat.
- For each pancake, spoon 3-4 tablespoons of batter onto skillet and cook until bubbles form and then flip to cook until underside is slightly browned. If batter is too thin you can add more cooking oats (no need to blend). If batter is too thick you can add a little milk or water to desired thickness.
Serve warm with a little honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Key Ingredient Benefits
Oatmeal: Contains a type of fiber called beta-glucan. A diet high in this type of fiber can help maintain healthy lipids, lower cholesterol levels and reduce one’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Beta-glucan also helps to stabilize blood sugar and may support the immune system. Oatmeal contains phytoalexins (plant defense molecules) called avenanthramides, and may help protect/improve overall cardiovascular health.
Eggs: Have essential amino acids and provide several vitamins and minerals, including retinol (vitamin A), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. They are also a single-food source of protein. Besides fish, the egg is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D. All of the egg’s vitamin A, D, and E are in the egg yolk. [Caveat; A large yolk however does contain more than two-thirds of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg of cholesterol. It also contains choline, which is an important nutrient for development of the brain, and is said to be important for pregnant and nursing women to ensure healthy fetal brain development.
Low Fat Ricotta Cheese: Provides calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are important to maintain dense bones and teeth. Phosphorus aids in energy metabolism and is a component of your genetic material. Low-fat ricotta cheese is also a source of riboflavin, which aids in the formation of red blood cells, plays a role in energy metabolism and supports normal growth.
Flax Seed: Mother Nature’s proof that good things come in small packages. In fact, some refer to this tiny seed as the most powerful plant food on the planet. There’s some evidence it may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Flax seed contains precursors (alpha linolenic acid) to the omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Unfortunately these precursors are not efficiently converted in the human to the omega 3s and therefore are not very effective with respect to increasing levels of the omega 3s. It also offers lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. And finally, flax seed it provides both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Lemon: This fruit contains citrus bioflavonoids that help the immune system and have anti-oxidant properties. Lemons also have anti-microbial properties and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, among others. The lemon’s bioflavonoids may prevent inflammation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.