Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday
Pancake Day is almost upon us (Tuesday 25th February 2020) and many ladies are starting to get cravings for pancakes! So which pancakes and toppings would be best with gestational diabetes?
You don’t have to go without, but if it is going to cause a binge then pancakes may be best left until your baby has arrived. Only you can make that decision, but we will share as many tips with you to having a successful Pancake Day with gestational diabetes!
The two issues with pancakes as a suitable GD food is that they are high in carbohydrates due to the flour used in making them and they lack protein and natural fats to help pair them.
Add additional sweet, high carbohydrate toppings or fillings and the total carbs can be very high, which can push blood sugar levels way too high.
- Eat your pancake as a ‘snack or meal’, rather than as a dessert following a meal. As a dessert it is too many carbs to process
- Try to make your pancakes as thin as possible, like crêpes
- Cook your pancakes in real butter or coconut oil rather than low-fat cooking sprays such as Frylight to increase the natural fat content
- Decide which type of flour to use (see table below)
- Think carefully about the topping or filling, ideally adding additional foods to help pair the carbs
Flour can be very high in carbohydrates and with 90-100% of carbohydrates turning into glucose in our bloodstream, it is the flour that can cause high blood sugar levels that we struggle to process.
Flours which are whole grain or whole-wheat take longer to break down and covert into glucose, therefore the spike in blood sugar levels can be slowed and decreased compared to highly refined flours such as white flour where much of the goodness has been stripped from the product.
Even lower in carbohydrates and often much higher in protein and fat (which helps food pairing) are nut or soya flours. These specialist flours can be expensive and so a good widely available alternative is ground almonds. Ground almonds are much lower in carbs, but have a more dense and grainy texture.
For traditional thinner pancakes (like crêpes), grounds almonds are not fine enough in texture. Ground almonds work well as a substitute flour in cakes or thicker pancakes like American style pancakes.
|Type of flour||Carbs per 100g||Protein per 100g||Fat per 100g|
|Sukrin Almond Flour||4.0g||40.0g||11.0g|
|Sukrin Sesame Flour||6.0g||46.0g||19.0g|
|Tesco Ground Almonds||6.5g||25.5g||55.8g|
|Sukrin Coconut Flour||18.0g||19.0g||14.0g|
|Sukrin Peanut Flour||20.0g||50.0g||12.0g|
|Holland & Barrett Soya Flour Power||31.0g||38.0g||20.0g|
|Sukrin FiberFin gluten free fibre additive for flour||31.0g||0.0g||0.0g|
|The Groovy Food Co Organic Coconut Flour||58.0g||18.0g||12.0g|
|Allinson Wholemeal Self Raising Flour||60.0g||11.0g||2.4g|
|Doves Farm Organic Wholegrain Spelt Flour||63.6g||13.3g||2.5g|
|Doves Farm Organic Rye Flour||64.1g||7.8g||1.9g|
|Allinson Wholemeal Plain Flour||65.0g||12.0g||2.6g|
|McDougalls Self raising white flour||67.9g||9.9g||1.4g|
|Be-Ro Light Plain Flour||70.1g||10.4g||1.3g|
|Homepride Plain white flour||70.8g||9.73g||0.9g|
|Doves Farm Gluten Free Flour||80.1g||4.8g||0.9g|
Gluten free flours
Some ladies pick up gluten-free flours and products, thinking they will be better for blood sugar levels. Gluten free flours have high amounts of carbohydrates and so should only be used for other dietary requirements, not control of blood sugar levels. Choosing a gluten-free flour or product will not help your blood sugar levels at all.
If you require gluten-free flour due to other dietary requirements, a product which may be beneficial is Sukrin FiberFin. This gluten-free flour additive is a naturally fine flour that is rich in fibre and can be added to your normal gluten-free flour. Adding this to gluten-free flour increases the fibre content and therefore lowers the GL (glucose load) of the product you are making which means that it will slow down the release of glucose.
Failing that, try one of the alternative pancake recipes below which do not use wheat flour at all!
Basic pancake recipe
Ingredients: 100g plain flour, 2 eggs, 300ml milk (whole milk, almond milk, soya milk all work well and help with pairing), 1 tbsp oil (coconut oil or butter), plus extra for frying and a pinch of salt.
Recipe: Weigh out your chosen flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and add the 2 eggs, 1 tbsp of oil and a splash of milk. Mix ingredients into a smooth paste. Keep adding the milk bit by bit, mixing well until you have a well combined runny batter that would coat the back of a spoon.
Wipe some oil around a frying pan on a piece of kitchen towel, then heat on a moderate heat. Once hot, ladle the batter into the pan and tilt the pan around to spread the batter evenly. *Remember, thin pancakes will be better to tolerate. After 30 – 60 secs, you will be able to flip the pancake to brown on the other side.
Spelt flour pancake recipe
Spelt flour is still pretty high in carbs, much like plain wheat flours, but it does contain more protein and fibre and has not been as processed, meaning it takes longer to digest and therefore can be slightly better for blood sugar levels. These spelt flour pancakes taste the same as traditional pancakes but mean you have a better chance of not causing a rapid spike in blood sugars.
Ingredients: 75g spelt flour, 1 egg, 150ml whole, almond or soya milk and 1 tsp of butter or coconut oil for frying
Recipe: Add the spelt flour into a bowl. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and add the egg. Mix ingredients into a smooth paste. Add a splash of milk, mix, then keep adding the milk bit by bit, mixing well until you have a well combined runny batter that would coat the back of a spoon.
Wipe some butter or coconut oil around a frying pan on a piece of kitchen towel, then heat on a moderate heat. Once hot, ladle the batter into the pan and tilt the pan around to spread the batter evenly. *Remember, thin pancakes will be better to tolerate. After 30 – 60 secs, you will be able to flip the pancake to brown on the other side.
This is the chance to make your pancake more tolerable as you can things which contain protein and natural fats to help slow down the release of glucose from the flour:
- natural granulated sweetener (such as xylitol, Natvia, Sukrin or erythritol) and lemon
- whipped double cream, or M&S real spray cream, melted dark chocolate and nuts
- yogurt, berries and seeds
- yogurt and agave nectar
- Peanut butter, peanuts and a scoop of OPPO ice cream
- strawberries and real cream (NOT Elmlea)
- Chocolate cream (Melted dark chocolate in double cream) or ganache
- cinnamon and natural sweetener
- streaky bacon and agave nectar
Savoury Toppings and fillings
Savoury topping or fillings can change a pancake into a meal and can really help with food pairing making them more tolerable. Adding cheeses, meats, fish, tofu, avocado, Quorn or eggs and creamy sauces can really increase the protein and natural fat content and can make for a pleasant change.
You can add herbs, spices and cheese to the batter to infuse more flavour into the pancake and don’t forget to bulk up the meal with salad or vegetables too.
Toppings to avoid
- Nutella – with a carb content of 57.6g per 100g (that’s 8.6g of carbs – over 2 tsp of sugar per 15g serving!)
- sugar, honey, maple or golden syrup
- ripe banana
- high fructose fruits (see our main dietary page for info. on fruit)
- chocolate or caramel sauce
- fruit sauces, jams and compôtes
- Crêpes Suzette
- additional starchy, sweet or higher carb vegetables
Low carb pancakes
You can make pancakes easily buy omitting the flour element, but the texture of these ‘pancakes’ is very different to the traditional pancake. These type of pancakes will not spike blood sugar levels as high, but you should still be careful with toppings added to them.
Coconut Flour Pancakes
These sweet coconut flour pancakes are low carb, sugar free, nut free and gluten free. Perfect as an American style pancake to serves with berries and yogurt or crispy streaky bacon and some sugar free syrup! Yum
These are a Gestational Diabetes UK Mums favourite breakfast!
Ingredients: 1 small or ½ a large slightly green to yellow banana (this is important as it contains less sugar!), 2 large eggs, butter or coconut oil, Greek full fat yoghurt, a few berries, almonds, seeds
Mash the banana, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add the mashed banana to the eggs and mix until blended. Heat a frying pan and add butter or coconut oil. Drop the batter into the pan (2 tbsp per pancake), fry for 1 minute, or until the bottom of the pancake has browned slightly. Flip the pancake over (very gently as the mixture is fairly wet meaning the pancakes can break easily) and cook the other side. Serve warm with full fat Greek yoghurt, berries, nuts, seeds and add sweetener or agave nectar if you wish
Almond and Flaxseed Pancakes
Ingredients: 330g ground almonds or almond flour, 1 tbsp ground flaxseed, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp baking soda, 3 large eggs, 180ml unsweetened almond milk, light coconut milk, or whole milk, 2 tbsp extra-light olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, or butter, melted.
Recipe: Combine the almond meal, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk and oil or butter and whisk thoroughly. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add more milk as necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to reach pancake-batter consistency. Lightly oil a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Pour 4 tbsp of batter onto the pan. Cook for three minutes, or until bubbles form and edges are cooked. Flip and cook for three minutes or until underside is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with full fat greek yoghurt, berries, nuts and seeds. Or for an American style treat, try serving with rashers of streaky bacon, drizzled with agave nectar! Recipe from Popsugar
Basic ground almond pancakes
These pancakes are great for a thicker ‘cakey’ textured pancake, like an American style pancake. They are very filling and can be topped with any of your favourite toppings.
Ingredients: 125g ground almonds, 200ml milk, 2 eggs, pinch of salt and oil or butter for frying
Recipe: combine ingredients to make a batter. Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a moderate heat. These pancakes work better when made as smaller pancakes, so pour a small amount of batter into the frying pan at a time. Once browned on one side, flip to fry on the other.
Serve with sweetener or agave nectar and lemon or any of your favourite toppings.
My breakfast burrito wraps
These wraps are soft light and fluffy, much like pancakes. Here’s the recipe for making 1 large wrap.
You don’t need to miss out. Make a good choice and enjoy!!
Happy Pancake Day ladies!
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