Healthier Swaps for a “Not So Fat” Tuesday

For those who didn’t overly indulge in Valentine’s confections, Fat Tuesday or the Tuesday prior to the beginning of Lent and the tradition of using up sugar, flour and butter to make pancakes (Canada/UK), Paczkis (Detroit/Chicago) or King Cake (New Orleans) is another February test of willpower.  But, without going overboard and risking a sugar-induced coma, there are many ways to adjust recipes to create special, yet healthier versions of traditional treats. 

As lovely as a fluffy pancake can be, especially with maple syrup and butter, two traditional flapjacks rack up 520 calories, 14 grams of fat and 90.9 grams of carbohydrates, according to VeryWell Fit.   But by swapping out white flour for whole wheat, using a heart-healthy fat on the griddle and topping pancakes with fresh or cooked berries, home chefs can increase fiber and lower sugar content.   Or try making thin crêpes, with fruit and ricotta cheese, and just a dusting of powdered sugar for a satisfying treat with fewer calories and enough protein to satisfy for hours.  

As many regions prepare for another Arctic blast and dumping of the white stuff, a run to the grocery store to stock up on breakfast foods that can double as lunch or dinner may be in order.  By watching out for excessive sugar or unhealthy fats, using whole grains and a protein like eggs, yogurt or low-fat cheese, families can slim down their Fat Tuesday without feeling deprived. 

For more breakfast, brunch and snack ideas and recipes to try that won’t require a 40-day diet of kale and skinless chicken breasts, follow this link to The Spruce Eats.  Healthy food can taste great and by slowly reducing sugar content in foods, and making healthy fat and higher fiber swaps, families can enjoy their food while improving overall health – no stretchy pants required!

The American Heart Association recommends that adults limit added sugar to no more than 100 calories each day or 24 grams of sugar (about 6 teaspoons). Added sugar can not only lead to weight gain from extra calories, but processed and prepared foods with added sugar also contribute to an epidemic of heart disease.