Fluffy and buttery on the inside and golden brown on the outside, pancakes are an all-time breakfast favorite for adults and kids alike.
While preparing your own pancake mix is always the healthier choice (because you can control the ingredients in your batter and ensure it's filled with nutrients), store-bought pancake mixes are convenient when you're in a pinch.
If you've ever prepared flapjacks from scratch at home, you know that measuring precise amounts of flour, baking powder, milk and eggs can take some time and lead to a Googling black hole without the right ingredients.
So how do you choose a healthy protein pancake mix to make the perfect stack?
How to Shop for Protein Pancake Mixes
1. Look for Whole Grains
A good place to start is to find a pancake mix that has whole grains, which will provide more fiber and nutrients, Largeman-Roth says.
"Look at the ingredient list — does it start with whole grain or oats?"
Whole-wheat, buckwheat, rolled oats, and quinoa flours are all good choices. Largeman-Roth recommends choosing a whole-grain pancake mix with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.
2. Choose Pancake Mixes Low in Added Sugar
Chances are you're going to drizzle your stack with some maple syrup, so you'll want a mix with under 10 grams of sugar. Even better, Largeman-Roth suggests finding a pancake mix with no more than 4 grams of added sweetness per serving.
This includes pancake mixes that use coconut sugar in place of refined white sugar. At the end of the day, natural sugar is still sugar, no matter how you add it.
And speaking of maple syrup, you want to go for the pure stuff — not ones that have corn syrup and other ingredients.
3. Aim for High Protein and Fiber
The USDA recommends getting 0.8 grams of protein daily per kilogram of bodyweight, so that's about 43.2 grams of protein for a 120-pound woman.
Looking for pancake mixes with 10 to 13 grams of the muscle-building macronutrient will help you get there. "Ideally, you'll also include a protein source, like yogurt or eggs," Largeman-Roth points out.
Using whole-grain pancake mixes automatically increases the fiber content, compared to those that contain white flour. Largeman-Roth says going for pancake mixes with 4 grams of fiber per serving is a good base for the rest of your meal, which should also include some fruits.
"Choose mixes made with almond flour since the almonds contribute fiber and protein," she says. Largeman-Roth also suggests looking for whole-grain pancake mixes that include whey protein, wheat protein, brown rice protein or pea protein isolate for a boost.
4. Consider Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Pancake Mixes
You don't have to have a gluten allergy or sensitivity to appreciate gluten-free pancake mixes.
Many gluten-free pancake mixes usually contain oat, almond and coconut flours, which pack protein and fiber, while also being low in carbs.
Pancake mixes based on oat flour are particularly great because they make hearty pancakes, leaving you more satisfied for a longer period of time, Largeman-Roth says.
When it comes to portion sizes, aim for a serving that's two or three pancakes, and it should be around 250 calories or fewer, Largeman-Roth says.
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for healthy pancake mixes, it's time to take out the griddle and get flipping.
If you're curious what are some dietitian-approved pancake mixes, here are a few healthy pancake mixes that clock in at 300 calories or less and have at least 10 grams of protein.
Healthy Protein Pancake Mixes to Try
1. Kodiak Cakes Chocolate Chip Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix
Per three-pancake serving: 200 calories, 3 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 390 milligrams sodium, 30 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar), 14 grams protein
Made with whole-grain and oat flours and whey protein isolate, this hearty pancake mix packs 14 grams of protein for a stack of three pancakes. It also has some chocolate chips folded into the mix so you'll get the sweetness you crave.
For those who can't tolerate whey, Largeman-Roth also likes Kodiak Cakes' plant-based mix, which has pea and brown rice protein, as well as wheat protein isolate.
Since one serving of these flapjacks has nine grams of sugar, you want to skip the maple syrup and enjoy your stack with some low-fat Greek yogurt or a natural nut butter of your choice, which pairs nicely with the chocolate chips in the pancakes.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $5.29
2. Bob's Red Mill Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix
Per 1/3-cup serving: 170 calories, 1.5 grams fat (0.5 gram saturated fat), 340 milligrams sodium, 24 grams carbohydrates (5 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 1 gram added sugar), 15 grams protein
At 15 grams of protein and 170 calories per serving, these hearty flapjacks will keep you full for hours thanks to the hunger-curbing whole-wheat pastry flour, whey protein concentrate, pea protein isolate and psyllium husk powder (which is a type of fiber).
Unlike other pancake mixes that call for eggs and milk, this mix requires only water to whip them up.
Want to pack more flavor? Add a dash of ground cinnamon or cardamom and a splash of vanilla extract to the batter.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $23.99 per pack of 4
3. Arrowhead Mills Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix
Per 1/4-cup serving: 140 calories, 2 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 290 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar), 16 grams protein
Vegans and vegetarians will love this 100-percent plant-based pancake mix, which clocks in 16 grams of the muscle-building macronutrient. This plant-based pancake mix boasts organic chickpea flour and whole-wheat flour for satiating power.
If you have limited ingredients at home, the good news is that you just need a tablespoon of oil (we like avocado oil) and a cup of water to prepare these pancakes. You get the same fluffy texture you love in homestyle flapjacks while preventing spikes in blood sugar.
Once the pancakes are ready to serve, beef up the fiber content with some fruits and chopped nuts as a topping.
Buy it: Mercato.com; Price: $8.99
4. Krusteaz Protein Buttermilk Pancake Mix
Per 1/2-cup serving: 220 calories, 2 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 600 milligrams sodium, 36 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar) 15 grams protein
For protein-rich flapjacks with restaurant quality, consider this mix from Krusteaz. Fun fact: During the '60s, Krusteaz Kurtesy Kitchen was serving pancakes through the Northwest in its "traveling diner."
This pancake mix features whole-wheat flour, wheat protein isolate, whey protein isolate and buttermilk. Ready in just a few minutes, all you need is some water to add to the mix.
Because this mix has a higher amount of added sugar than what Largeman-Roth generally recommends, opt to sweeten your stack with a side of fresh berries instead of maple syrup. You can also make your own natural fruit compote or syrup to go over the pancakes by cooking down the fruit in a saucepan with water and lemon juice.
The sodium content is also on the higher end, so be mindful of your salt intake for the rest of the day.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.65 per pack of 2
5. Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Protein + Collagen Pancake Mix
Per 3-pancake serving: 300 calories, 18 grams fat (7 grams saturated fat), 520 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates (6 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 11 grams protein
If you're a fan of Purely Elizabeth's tasty granola, you're in luck because its new pancake and waffle mix is equally delicious and good for you.
This nutrient-dense pancake mix packs superfoods chia seeds and flax seeds for a boost of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and additional fiber.
For grain-free heartiness, it combines almond, arrowroot, tapioca, coconut and tigernut flours with grass-fed collagen, so you get six grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein in just one serving. The best part is you just need one egg, water and oil to prep the batter.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $22.99 per pack of 2
6. Phoros Nutrition Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix
Per serving: 220 calories, 2.5 grams fat (0.5 gram saturated fat), 210 milligrams sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 30 grams protein
You can use this high-protein mix to prepare more than just pancakes; it's great for baking muffins, doughnuts, cookies and much more if you want to keep the carb count low.
Oat flour and whey protein isolate infuse this flapjack mix with protein and fiber while ground cinnamon adds some heartwarming flavor.
To prep the batter, combine a scoop of the mix with a half-scoop of liquid, like water, unsweetened almond milk or another milk of your choice. Phoros also has high-protein buttermilk and cinnamon roll pancake mixes if you desire other flavors.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19.99
7. Trader Joe's Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix
Per 2-pancake serving: 140 calories, 1 gram fat (0 grams saturated fat), 260 milligrams sodium, 23 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber, less than 1 gram sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 10 grams protein
Add this mix to your list of favorite Trader Joe's products. TJ's protein pancake mix combines wheat-wheat and whole-grain oat flours with whey protein concetrate and buttermilk powder for a protein-packed stack.
Just combine equal parts water and the mix, and pour some of the batter into a hot griddle or skillet. Feel free to fold your favorite berries into the batter and top your stack with some nut butter for more protein and fiber.
We suggest the Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter With Flax and Chia Seeds — it adds protein, fiber and a crunchy texture.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $15.95 per pack of 2