If you have premixed pancake batter in your fridge, drop and give me 50 pushups. That stuff is loaded with preservatives and stabilizers and doesn't taste good in the first place.
If you have a box of premixed pancake powder in the pantry, you only owe me 20 pushups, plus another 20 flutterkicks. Same problem as above, plus you're paying way too much for something you can make yourself in about three seconds.
A running theme here has been slowing it down, but slowing it down doesn't have to mean that it takes forever to get ready. And if you forgot to make the french toast the night before, then it's never too late to whip up an alternative to cold cereal and Saturday morning cartoons.
Basic pancakes are super-easy, and my version ups the fiber and protein and makes a great pre-race or pre-workout meal as well as an excellent recovery meal.
For basic pancakes, just remember the number two. You need 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of milk, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter or oil. Throw in a dash of salt and, if you want, a tablespoon of sugar (or brown sugar, or agave nectar, or honey), and you have pancakes for a family of four. (What? Step by step instructions? Come on... they're pancakes! Mix the dry, mix the wet, mix the wet into the dry, and fire up the griddle.)
These are super easy, and taste so much better than anything you're ever going to get out of a jug or a box. Add some mashed bananas, blueberries (fresh or frozen), or anything else that strikes your fancy.
But here's the really cool thing: it takes about two more minutes to take these from pancakes that taste good to pancakes that taste great and are great for you.
The first trick: substitute one cup of whole wheat flour for one cup of the white flour. That single step takes your protein from about 4 grams per serving to 5.5 grams, and your fiber jumps from zero to 5 grams. If you have a couple more minutes, you can grind up some oats in your coffee bean grinder or food processor and make a cup of oat flour. That gives you about 6-7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. (Mix the one cup of oat flour with the one cup of white flour, and throw a mini-scoop of whole oats in to the batter — presentation counts, after all.)
The second trick: add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of almonds to the mix by chopping them in your grinder, processor, or hand-chopper. About ten whacks with the hand-chopper gives you almond powder that nearly disappears into the flour, but still gives the batter a little bit of nutty texture. Take it down further and you'll loose the texture completely for lightly, fluffy pancakes. And almonds are nutritional powerhouses, giving you an extra 3-4 grams of fiber per serving, plus protein, calcium, and Vitamin E.
So here you go: the Training Table's Super-charged Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs (or 3 egg whites, if you're watching your cholesterol)
2 Tbs melted butter or oil
2 cups milk or 1 cup milk, 1 cup buttermilk
1/4 to 1/2 cup ground almonds, chopped finely with a hand-chopper or food processor
One cup blueberries