Whipping up pancakes and slathering them with tasty goodness is what many of us associate Shrove Tuesday with.
Such a day of indulgence has the potential to seriously derail your diet, but that doesn’t mean you need to eschew the event altogether.
You should still be able to put your eating pants on and enjoy the annual celebration, but, by making some savvy swaps, you can help save both your waistline and your teeth.
Here are some clever substitutions to help you steer clear of artificial and sugar-filled products while still being able to embrace the joy of Pancake Day.
Your old favorites: Bottled lemon juice and sugar
Swap for: Fresh fruit and cinnamon
No surprises here, but sugar contains a lot of calories and absolutely zero essential nutrients. What’s more, it can cause tooth decay by feeding the harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Lemon juice can also damage tooth enamel. Moreover, the bottled version contains much less vitamin C than the fresh fruit and many more preservatives.
A savvy swap would be fresh fruit and cinnamon as this will reduce the inevitable insulin spike. Berries are a good choice as their malic acid will help brighten teeth color.
As for cinnamon, research shows the spice could help you lose weight. Research at Penn State University, US, found eating it with a high-fat meal makes the podge less likely to settle on your waist.
Your old favorite: Nutella
Swap for: Natural hazelnut butter or raw cacao nibs
The French like nutella so much they literally fought tooth and nail to get their hands on it last month. Yes, it’s delicious but, alas, it’s no good for your healthy eating regime.
A jar of Nutella contains 58% sugar and 32% fat, most of which is palm oil, and only a small percentage of hazelnuts. This highly addictive combination makes portion control unlikely.
Instead, try a natural 100% hazelnut butter. Hazelnuts are a good source of omega-6 fatty acids as well as protein, fiber, vitamin E, copper and manganese. It’ll add a satisfying crunch to your pancake, too!
Alternatively, if you still long for the taste of chocolate, replace the spread for raw cacao nibs. Raw cacao is rich in magnesium, which supports energy, muscle relaxation and bone strength. It’s also a good source of iron and potassium.
Plus, the flavanols in cacao could help protect or even improve our cognitive abilities such as memory and learning ability as we get older.
– RELATED: 7 Pancake Recipes To Get You Up In The Morning –
Your old favorite: Ice cream
Swap for: Natural Greek yogurt
Ice cream typically contains high amounts of saturated fat and calories. Indeed, just half cup of the frozen stuff is about 250 calories with 15g of carbohydrates.
Swapping ice cream for a natural Greek yogurt will more than half the sugar consumption from roughly 12.2g to just 5.1g. It’s also a rich protein source which will help leave you both full and satisfied.
What’s more, the added calcium in the yogurt will stick to the plaque on teeth to rebuild any damaged enamel.
Your old favorites: Pancake syrup
Swap for: Natural maple syrup
Pancake syrup is a frequent guest to breakfast tables in America, but it really should be avoided.
Imitation syrup is an artificial food made from potentially harmful ingredients such as corn syrup and caramel color. It’s worryingly high in sodium (excessive consumption of which can increase your chances of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and strokes) as well as calories and carbs.
Pure maple syrup, however, made from concentrating sap of the sugar maple tree, contains no artificial ingredients and is rich in antioxidants. It also boasts calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese.
It’s still really high in sugar though, so add it to your pancakes sparingly and be sure to brush your teeth afterwards! White Glo dental expert, Jordan Kirk, says: “Bushing your teeth after eating high sugar foods is a great way to get rid of excess sugars in your mouth, but, if you don’t have a toothbrush to hand, just make sure you drink more water as this will stimulate saliva production which helps repair enamel naturally.”
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