Waffles may not be the obvious choice for a healthy breakfast, but there are ways to make them a healthy food. This post includes some easy recipes for waffles that are a healthier alternative.
For the longest time, I thought of waffles as an occasional indulgence, reserved for cheat days. Now I’ve discovered that waffles can be part of a healthy diet that’s also delicious. You just have to know a few tips and tricks.
I’m going to show you how to make a healthy waffle. You can increase the nutritional value of your waffle breakfast simply by making small tweaks like choosing whole wheat flour and nutritious accompaniments.
Join me as we take a deep dive into the world of waffles!
Are Waffles A Healthy Choice?
A traditional waffle is made of refined grains and is low in fiber. Also, the total fat and saturated fat content in both frozen waffles and homemade waffles are high.
Plus, waffles have a high sodium content. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that waffles do contain some important minerals like iron, calcium, and phosphorus as well as essential vitamins like vitamin A and B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, and folate).
In a nutshell, waffles aren’t the healthiest food, especially if you’re on a low carb/keto diet, but there are ways to up their nutritional value. Eating whole wheat waffles or waffles made of other whole grains is one way to do this.
Consuming waffles in moderation is also important to avoid completely ruining your diet plan.
Waffle Nutrition Facts
Here’s the nutrition you get from a plain, frozen, ready-to-heat waffle (approximately 4-inch square or round):
- Calories: At nearly 103 calories a piece, waffles are calorie-dense. Adding whipped cream, pure maple syrup, high fructose corn syrup, or sugar to your waffle can take the calorie count even higher.
- Fat: Each frozen waffle contains over 3 grams of fat and 0.5 grams of saturated fat. Homemade waffles can be even worse with around 5 grams of fat and 1 gram of saturated fat per waffle if you’re not careful. The high-fat content in frozen waffles can lead to weight gain.
- Cholesterol: Each waffle has around 25 mg of cholesterol. High cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Sodium: There’s around 383 mg of sodium in each waffle. High amounts of sodium (salt) in your diet can lead to high blood pressure.
- Carbohydrates: Each waffle has around 16 grams of refined carbohydrates which come mainly from refined flour. Consuming white bread, pancakes, and waffles made from highly processed refined flour can lead to blood sugar spikes and increase your risk of heart disease.
- Protein: There is just under 2.4 grams of protein in each frozen waffle, so you need to add other nutritious foods as accompaniments to get enough proteins from a waffle meal.
How To Make A Healthy Breakfast With Waffles?
Some simple changes can make waffles a lot healthier to consume.
- Use unprocessed flours
One of the easiest ways to make your waffles healthier is to use unprocessed whole grain flour, such as buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, or almond flour to make your waffle batter. These are all healthier alternatives to white flour which is what you get when you buy frozen waffles. Whole grain waffles are high in fiber and contain proteins from plant sources.
- Go easy on the sweeteners
What can make waffles particularly unhealthy is that in addition to the waffles themselves you end up eating unhealthy accompaniments with them. Make your waffles healthier by choosing better alternatives as toppings. Avoid sweetening your waffles with added sugar, maple syrup, or chocolate chips.
I love this blueberry compote as an alternative to maple syrup.
- Pick fresh fruits as toppings
Fresh fruit like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants and make excellent waffle toppings. Other healthy choices for waffle accompaniments include Greek yogurt, honey, and nut butter.
- Work with high-benefit, healthier oils
To make healthy waffles, pay attention to the oil you’re using. ASPC’s top choice is coconut oil which behaves just like vegetable oil but is healthier. Coconut oil gives me the perfect waffle every time with a crispy outer shell and soft interior. In fact, I also use coconut oil instead of cooking spray. I just lightly brush my waffle iron with it and warm the waffle maker to liquefy it.
- Avoid frozen waffles
Store-bought frozen waffles are typically made of white flour and contain tons of preservatives. Making your own whole wheat waffles at home can greatly increase the nutritional value of your meal. If you don’t like the texture of homemade waffles, try using a bit of buckwheat in healthy waffle recipes. I find it takes the edge off whole wheat flour and my waffles turn out real fluffy.
Easy Healthy Waffle Recipes
- Butternut Squash Waffles
This delicious waffle recipe features butternut squash puree along with a combination of whole wheat flour and buckwheat flour which makes it super healthy. They go great with dairy products like yogurt and nuts like pecans as toppings – also healthy.
Besides staples like almond milk, coconut oil, and baking powder, you’ll need cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg to give these waffles their amazing flavor.
Full recipe here.
- Cornmeal Waffles
My cornmeal waffles are made with buckwheat or whole wheat flour in addition to cornmeal. They also include a dash of coconut sugar for sweetness and sea salt for flavor. Additional nutrition in these homemade waffles comes from eggs.
Making them is super easy – just mix the wet and dry ingredients and follow the instructions for your waffle maker or waffle iron. You can replace the unsweetened almond milk with buttermilk if you like. I recommend you eat these with fresh berries for a healthy, delicious breakfast.
Check out my cornmeal waffle recipe on this post.
Waffles can hardly be called the healthiest of breakfasts, but there are ways for you to enjoy them. I recommend eating whole wheat waffles as a rule and avoiding unhealthy toppings like whipped cream that contain high amounts of saturated fat. Instead, choose healthy food such as fresh fruits to complement the whole grains in your wheat waffles and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal totally guilt-free.
Also, avoid store-bought frozen waffles which contain white flour and preservatives. Once you start making healthy waffles at home, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought.
Last but not least, go easy on the serving size. Remember, waffles are an indulgence and not something you should be eating every day.