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Are whole wheat pancakes good for you?

Pancakes are a breakfast staple for many people. While traditional pancakes are made from white flour, whole wheat pancakes are growing in popularity as a potentially healthier alternative. But are whole wheat pancakes actually good for you?

The benefits of whole wheat pancakes

Whole wheat pancakes have some nutritional advantages compared to regular white flour pancakes:

  • More fiber. Whole wheat flour contains more fiber than white flour because it uses the entire wheat grain. Fiber promotes digestive health.
  • More protein. There is more protein in whole wheat flour compared to white flour.
  • More nutrients. Whole wheat flour contains more nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and iron since the bran and germ of the wheat are included.
  • Lower glycemic index. The glycemic index measures how quickly blood sugar rises after eating. Whole wheat has a lower glycemic index than white flour.

The additional fiber, protein, and nutrients in whole wheat pancakes can help you feel full for longer. The lower glycemic index also helps prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar.

Potential downsides of whole wheat pancakes

However, there are also some potential cons to keep in mind with whole wheat pancakes:

  • Higher calorie. Whole wheat flour is often more calorie dense than white flour. So whole wheat pancakes may end up higher in calories.
  • Denser texture. The extra fiber can make whole wheat pancakes heavier and denser.
  • Digestive issues. Some people have difficulty digesting large amounts of whole wheat. It may cause gas, bloating or discomfort.
  • Allergies. Those with wheat allergies or gluten intolerance can’t tolerate whole wheat pancakes.

While whole wheat pancakes do contain more nutrients, the calorie count and dense texture may be a drawback for some people. Those with sensitivities may also struggle to digest them.

Nutrition comparison

Let’s compare the nutrition facts of whole wheat versus regular pancakes:

Nutrient Whole Wheat Pancakes Regular Pancakes
Calories 260 220
Fat 4g 4g
Carbs 46g 36g
Fiber 5g 1g
Sugar 5g 4g
Protein 8g 6g

As you can see, whole wheat pancakes are higher in calories, carbs, fiber, and protein compared to white flour pancakes. They are fairly similar in fat and sugar content.

Health benefits of ingredients

Aside from the type of flour, the other ingredients in pancakes can also impact their health profile:


Eggs provide protein, healthy fats, and nutrients like vitamin D, selenium, and choline. Using whole eggs is healthier than egg whites alone.


Dairy milk provides calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Non-dairy milk alternatives like almond milk have fewer calories.

Fruits and veggies

Adding fruits like blueberries or bananas, and vegetables like spinach or zucchini, boosts the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content.

Whole grains

In addition to whole wheat flour, you can add oats, quinoa, or ground flaxseed to increase fiber and nutrients.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts like almonds and walnuts or seeds like chia or hemp provide healthy fats, plant protein, and fiber when mixed into the batter.


Maple syrup and honey provide antioxidants and minerals. Limit added sugars like white sugar, corn syrup, etc.

Healthy recipes

Here are some examples of healthy whole wheat pancake recipes:

Blueberry whole wheat pancakes

Ingredients: Whole wheat flour, milk, egg, baking powder, vanilla, blueberries

Banana oat pancakes

Ingredients: Oats, whole wheat flour, bananas, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla

Chocolate chip protein pancakes

Ingredients: Whole wheat flour, protein powder, almond milk, egg whites, dark chocolate chips

Spinach feta pancakes

Ingredients: Whole wheat flour, spinach, feta cheese, eggs, garlic powder

Cooking tips

To make the healthiest whole wheat pancakes, keep these cooking tips in mind:

  • Use whole wheat or whole grain flours
  • Include fiber-rich additions like oats, nuts, seeds, or fruit
  • Add veggies like spinach or zucchini to boost nutrients
  • Use healthy fats like olive oil or avocado oil to cook
  • Read labels to avoid added sugars in mixes
  • Opt for low-fat dairy or plant-based milk
  • Compare brands and select lower calorie options

Portion control

While whole wheat pancakes can be healthy in moderation, portion control is key. Here are some guidelines for servings:

  • 1 medium pancake (size of your palm)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup pancake pieces
  • 1/3 cup dry pancake mix prepared
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or fruit topping

Avoid eating multiple large, dense whole wheat pancakes in one sitting. Focus on quality ingredients and single serving sizes.

Should you avoid?

Here are some cases where you may want to avoid whole wheat pancakes:

  • Gluten intolerance or celiac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or digestives issues with fiber
  • Trying to lose weight – high calories can add up
  • Diabetes – spikes blood sugar more than protein + veggie options
  • Food allergies or sensitivities

Consult your healthcare provider if you have any condition where a high fiber, high carb food like whole wheat pancakes may not suitable.

The bottom line

Can whole wheat pancakes be healthy? Overall, whole wheat pancakes are a better choice than white flour pancakes due to the extra protein, fiber, and nutrients. However, they are still high in carbs and calories, so portions must be controlled.

Maximize the nutrition by adding healthy mix-ins like fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy. Avoid added sugars. Whole wheat pancakes can be enjoyed in moderation as part of balanced diet.