Author: Tosh Lubek Published: 2nd December 2021
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If you’re a die-hard waffle fan, you might be upset to learn that waffles aren’t the healthiest meal option. While any meal is preferable to no breakfast at all, choosing a nutritious diet is important for overall health. So, does that mean waffles are off the table, or is there a way to make them healthier?
Waffles made with white flour can clog up the digestive tract and offer little nutritional value. However, waffles cooked with whole grains and high-benefit oils, or without oil, are an excellent source of fiber and may be included in a balanced diet.
Fluffy Belgian waffles topped with syrup, berries, and whipped cream are delicious, but they’re not the healthiest option. By making a few easy changes to the original recipe, you can transform this delightful treat from a sugar bomb into a balanced and enjoyable meal.
Are Waffles Healthy?
To be blunt, plain waffles with high-sugar syrup are unhealthy.
White flour is the most common component in most waffle recipes or waffle mixes sold in stores. White flour contains very little nutritional value. It has low fiber content and can clog your system, causing digestive difficulties and finally leading to serious disease if consumed as a staple in your diet for an extended length of time.
In addition to flour, a common waffle recipe includes eggs, milk, oil, and salt. While eggs are a good source of protein, and milk is an important part of a balanced diet, you should acquire your protein and dairy from other sources.
How Can You Make Waffles Healthier?
A healthy diet includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low fat, lean protein, and healthy dairy options, according to the American Dietetic Association. This diet provides the calories, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein required to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
While typical waffle recipes aren’t inherently healthy, there are a few tweaks that can be made to get them there.
- Use whole grains. Whole wheat flour contains the bran, endosperm, and germ of the wheat grain, giving it a somewhat deeper color and increasing its nutritional value. Whole grains are high in fiber and help your digestive system function properly.
- Decrease the sugar. If you prefer sweet waffles over savory, this may come as a blow. However, there are plenty of ways to compensate for the sugar loss. Try adding spices like cinnamon or cardamom to your batter. You can also top your waffles with fresh fruits even add dried fruit to the mix.
- Be picky with your fats. The vegetable oils often found in waffle recipes aren’t always the best for you. There are many ways you can substitute those oils for a healthier alternative.
Adding vegetables to the mix will also help increase nutritional value. Think zucchini bread, but in waffle form. You could even try making a savory waffle—green onions and cheddar cheese are an easy place to start.
Which is the Healthiest Fat to Use?
In our favorite sweets, fat adds color, texture, softness, and wetness. However, not all fats are created equal. For those of us who are watching our health, how can you enjoy that wonderful waffle without all the fat that comes with using oil or butter?
Fruit purees are most typically used in baking as a fat alternative. Applesauce, mashed bananas, peach puree, and pear puree are all excellent fat alternatives. When adjusting a dish with fruit purees, use half the amount of puree as the entire amount of fat asked for in the recipe. If a recipe asks for 1 cup of butter, use 1/2 cup of fruit puree. If the mixture appears to be dry, you can simply add more puree.
Apple Sauce as An Egg Alternative: Does It Work?
Using apple sauce in your waffle recipe is a great way to add sweetness and substitute oil for a healthier alternative. But does it work as an egg replacement?
Yes, apple sauce can be used in place of eggs if you are opting for a more vegan-friendly option. Try replacing one egg with ¼ cup of apple sauce. However, because applesauce will add taste to the dish, check sure it is compatible with the other components. If not, you can also try using flaxseed or chia seed instead.
What Healthy Toppings Can You Add to Waffles?
One of the things that make waffles so fantastic is that you can top them with anything you want! They don’t, however, have to be mounded with butter and sweet syrups to be delicious. Try some of these delectable toppings for your waffles and receive the health and flavor advantages as a result!
- Greek yogurt, honey, and fresh fruit
- Vanilla yogurt, dark chocolate shavings, and fresh raspberries
- Almond butter and sliced apples
- Peanut butter and sliced bananas
- Sliced avocado and salted tomatoes
- Crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, and macadamia nuts
- Goat cheese and balsamic vinegar
Waffles don’t have to stop at breakfast either. Try using them as a base for pork chops and sauteed mushrooms for dinner, or use them to sandwich together hearty, healthy ingredients for lunch.
How Healthy Is Maple Syrup?
Most pancake syrups contain corn syrup, caramel color, and artificial flavoring. There are a lot of refined sugars, but nothing that adds any nutritional value.
While 100 percent pure maple syrup is undoubtedly better than maple-flavored pancake syrup, it is still a highly concentrated sweetener with no fiber. A tablespoon of maple syrup has 52 calories and 14 grams of sugar, which is more than half of the recommended maximum of 25 grams of added sugar per day. If you want to eat healthier, there are better choices.
Waffles produced with whole grains and healthy oil alternatives are nutritious snacks that can easily fit into a balanced diet.
To add nutritional value and produce a whole, nutritious breakfast, swap the sweet stuff with a handful of blueberries, yogurt, or almonds as toppings. These will provide additional fiber, minerals, and antioxidants without the empty calories of maple syrup.
Waffles and Your Health FAQ
Are waffles healthier than pancakes?
If comparing readymade supermarket waffles and pancakes, the average pancake contains 40% more calories than a typical waffle. However, waffle and pancake mixes, like Krusteaz Belgian Waffle Mix and Buttermilk Pancake Mix, produce batters that have almost the same number of calories per cup of batter.
But, the amount of batter used for a serving of waffles is less than that for a serving of pancakes. According to Krusteaz’s website a serving of waffles is half of a 7-inch round waffle (1/3 cup of batter = 140 calories). While a serving of pancakes is three 4-inch pancakes (½ cup of batter = 210 calories).
If you crunch the numbers, one cup of batter made from either of these Krusteaz mixes contains 420 calories. So, a serving of waffles is healthier than a serving of pancakes only if you use the recommended amount of batter. If you use equal amounts of batter for your waffles and pancakes, the calorie count will be approximately the same.
Are frozen waffles unhealthy?
Freezing waffles does not necessarily make them unhealthy. It’s because frozen waffles are commercially made using highly refined ingredients that some might consider them less healthy than homemade waffle recipes using whole grain flours and less refined sugars. Even so, commercially made frozen waffles, eaten in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, are still fine to eat.
Is it OK to eat waffles every day for breakfast?
It is recommended that you should not skip breakfast but having waffles every day is not a healthy choice. Waffles contain refined flour, fats, and sugar but toppings like butter, cream, and syrups can make this breakfast treat even less healthy, increasing the risk of diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes. Nonetheless, waffles can still be a breakfast treat if eaten in moderation and made using healthier ingredients.
Can I eat waffles on a diet?
Waffles would not normally be considered a diet food item. Half of a 7-inch round waffle made using Krusteaz Belgian Waffle Mix, contains 140 calories. However, that does not include toppings. Each tablespoon of maple syrup adds 52 calories, and a tablespoon of butter is 102 calories. By comparison, a boiled egg and slice of toast is about 150 calories.
Tosh learned how to cook while watching his Polish Mom at home. He also worked in a family-owned restaurant while a student and learned much from the chefs. Cooking has always interested him, especially the hearty Polish recipes he learned from his mother. He has helped create and appeared on cookery shows on radio stations in Scotland.
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