Top 3 gut-friendly pancake toppings

No one should miss out on Pancake Day. As the delicious day approaches, here’s some sweet and savoury topping ideas to make your tummy smile. You’d be flippin’ crazy not to try them!

It may only feel like a minute since we were packing the Christmas decorations away, but Shrove Tuesday — better known as Pancake Day — is just around the corner.

Shrove Tuesday falls on the day before Ash Wednesday which is when Lent — a 40 day period where people replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice by giving up an indulgence — begins. The 25 February will mark the occasion for 2020, but the date varies each year depending on when Easter is. In the past, people would use up ingredients in their cupboards to ensure there was no waste before Lent. These ingredients largely included eggs and milk. A simple way to do this was by combining them with flour, thus pancake day was born. While we may not celebrate it for the same reasons anymore, many of us enjoy whipping up the pancake batter, trying to flip them in the pan (without getting them stuck to the ceiling) and best of all eating them!

Although, if, like me, you have a sensitive tummy, creating a suitable topping which still oozes flavour and captures the fun of Pancake Day can be tricky. Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer something more savoury, there’s something for everyone. I share my top three gut-friendly pancake topping ideas.

TIP: You can easily make your pancake batter more gut-friendly too. For my pancakes, instead of using regular milk, I use Arla Lactofree Semi-Skimmed Milk (a good alternative could be soya) and I switch butter for Arla’s Lactofree Spreadable (dairy-free butter could be used if you are vegan). You could even try making these delicious gluten-free oat pancakes.

Vegan chocolate hazelnut spread with strawberries
Strawberries could improve symptoms for sufferers of IBD.

Serves: 1 | Dietary attributes: dairy-free, gluten-free (if made with gluten-free batter)

I discovered Hotel Chocolat’s chocolate hazelnut spread last year and it’s absolutely divine. Described as soulfully, satisfyingly rich and smooth, this praline spread is perfect for covering pancakes. If, like me, you’re a chocolate lover, who struggles with digesting lactose, then this is your best bet. Plus, it’s made with more cocoa and less sugar. A topping of chopped strawberries completes this delightful treat. The fruit is high in fibre which aids digestion; recent research also suggests strawberries could be used to improve and manage gut health, specifically helping to improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These could be swapped for raspberries which are also fibre-rich and support good digestive health.

Banana, cinnamon and honey
Bananas not only boost energy levels, but they soothe the GI tract too.

Serves: 1 | Dietary attributes: dairy-free, gluten-free (if made with gluten-free batter)

If you’re having your pancakes for breakfast, topping them with bananas gives a great energy boost to start the day. Plus, the high-fibre content will see you through until lunchtime. According to experts, bananas soothe the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) due to their high levels of pectin — a soluble fibre that regulates bowel function. The resistant starch present in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, helping to fuel gut bacteria and increase their production of short-chain fatty acids which are beneficial for digestion. Meanwhile, cinnamon extract has been used in Eastern and Western medicine to alleviate gastrointestinal problems for decades. Not only will the warm spice create a delicious aroma in your kitchen, but it can help to treat digestive imbalance and flatulence as well as diarrhoea. While much of the honey found in supermarkets is pasteurised, raw honey nourishes the good bacteria present in the intestines which are crucial for digestion and overall health. Just be aware to consume it in moderation due to its high sugar content.

Goat’s cheese, spinach and tomato
Goat’s cheese is lower in lactose than conventional dairy products.

Serves: 1 | Dietary attributes: gluten-free (if made with gluten-free batter)

Goat’s cheese is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium and for most, it is highly digestible. Many people who can’t tolerate cow’s cheese are able to tolerate goat’s cheese. Unlike the latter, cow’s cheese contains both A1 beta casein protein and A2 beta casein protein whereas goat’s cheese only contains A2 beta casein protein; when you’re body digests A1 beta casein protein, it gets broken down into a compound called beta-casomorphin-7 which is responsible for digestive discomfort. A study, published in Nutrition Journal in 2016, reported that the consumption of regular cow’s milk led to constipation, systematic inflammation and reduced levels of short-chain fatty acids which contribute to gut health. However, products containing only A2 beta casein didn’t cause any digestive issues for participants and in fact increased the concentration of short-chain fatty acids which help fight inflammation and support healthy bacteria in the gut. Evidence also confirms goat’s cheese is lower in lactose than conventional dairy products — great news for those of us who are cheese lovers and lactose sensitive. All in all, this is a gut-friendly cheese for savoury pancakes.

As for spinach and tomatoes, spinach is high in both fibre and water which help to prevent constipation and promote healthy digestion while tomatoes are ranked high on the list of gut-friendly foods due being a major source of the antioxidant lycopene which, along with its prebiotic properties, boost the activity of healthy bacteria in the gut.

Love these? Want to share your gut-friendly pancake topping ideas? Get in touch.

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