Can I eat pancakes if I’m on a diet?

It’s Shrove Tuesday today, and lots of anxious dieters will be asking “Can I still eat pancakes?” If you’re trying to lose weight, let me reassure you that pancakes are relatively healthy and low in fat (it’s the fillings that can clock up the calories.) Don’t miss out, especially if your family or friends are having a pancake party. But decide how many you’re going to eat before you start cooking… otherwise it’s very easy to be tempted into “just one more”.

Pancake recipe

Here’s a basic recipe, which makes enough batter for about 10 pancakes. They work out to just 66 cals each.


  • 120g (4 oz) plain flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 200 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 75 ml water


  1. Sift the flour into a bowl, then add the eggs and beat in with a fork.
  2. Mix together the milk and water in a jug and add slowly, stirring together well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Rub a small amount of butter onto a non-stick frying pan, place over a high heat until the pan is hot, then turn the heat down to medium.
  4. Fry two tablespoons of the batter for each pancake, and tilt the pan so the whole base is covered.
  5. Turn (or flip!) half way through cooking.
Calories Protein Carbs Fat Fibre
66 3.3g 9.9g 1.5g 0.3g

Savoury pancake fillings

Pancakes can be the basis of a meal, working well in place of pasta or wraps – try filling them with one of the following:

  • Low fat ricotta cheese and spinach
  • Chilli (made with lean or vegetarian mince)
  • Grilled mushrooms
  • Roasted courgette, cherry tomatoes, red onion and rocket
  • Wafer-thin ham and a little grated cheese

Sweet pancake fillings

Treat yourself to something sweet, but steer clear from syrup, ice-cream or chocolate, and try some of these delicious alternatives:

  • Classic lemon juice and sugar: a good squeeze of lemon, and a teaspoon of sugar.
  • Apple and cinnamon – peel, core and chop cooking apples, then stew or microwave until soft. Fill a pancake with these and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add a little brown sugar if you wish.
  • Berries: raspberries, strawberries or blueberries all work well.
  • Sliced banana, with a teaspoon of honey or sugar.

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