Ahh Shrove Tuesday, the one day of the year where we’re encouraged to get out the frying pan and whip up a sweet treat. Whether you’re a fan of delicate French crêpes or fluffy American pancakes, it’s a chance to show off your pan flipping skills and get creative with toppings.
If there’s one downside to this delicious holiday, it’s that the overload of sugar and fat can occasionally make our sleep less than sound. A healthy, balanced diet is key to a good night’s sleep, helping us to drift off faster and wake up less frequently. However, some days you still need a treat, and if you want to keep up with the pancake tradition while not interrupting your shut-eye, we’ve got the perfect recipe for you.
Banana oat pancakes
Oats and breakfast are a classic pairing, but you can enjoy them at any time of the day, including right before bed. Oats have always been a healthy staple, and are usually associated with providing energy. However, with their rich calcium and magnesium content, which have been proven to promote sleep, as well as the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, they’re also a great choice if you’re after a good night’s sleep.
Next, we have bananas. Bananas are classed as a ‘superfood’, and for good reason. Packed with potassium, fibre, magnesium, and vitamin C, they have a host of health benefits and are a great addition to your diet. While usually promoted for their energy-boosting properties, bananas can also help promote sleep due to a few key components:
Potassium: Low potassium has been linked with bloating and constipation, which can lead to disturbed sleep. It’s also been proven to help improve sleep efficiency and sleep fragmentation, so you’re more likely to sleep the whole way through the night.
Magnesium: Magnesium helps to relax your muscles, with a lack of magnesium linked to often painful muscle spasms. A regular dose of magnesium will ensure you have a comfortable sleep and are less likely to wake up with stiff or painful joints.
Tryptophan: This amino acid helps your body to produce serotonin which regulates mood, digestion, and of course, sleep.
So, if you’re looking for some sweet dreams, oats and bananas might be the answer. And if you’re looking for a pancake recipe that’s perfect for the morning and after work, these delicious banana oat pancakes are an obvious choice. They’re quick and easy to make, and you only need a mixing bowl and a frying pan — so you won’t get stuck with a pile of washing up after!
2 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
70g rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until smooth (if you prefer a smoother batter, blend the bananas in a food processor). Add in eggs and vanilla until combined, then stir in oats and cinnamon.
- Heat a small amount of butter or cooking spray on a pan to medium heat, then add a scoop of batter. You can make 6 small pancakes or 4 medium-sized ones)
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until you start to see bubbles at the top of the batter, then flip and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Don’t forget the toppings!
Of course, pancakes aren’t quite right without a good topping. Maple syrup, chocolate spread and scatterings of sugar are all tasty options, but if you want something that won’t cause a spike in your sugar levels, here are some healthier, but equally delicious, alternatives.
Strawberries: These berries contain a small source of melatonin and sweeten up any dish.
Almonds: Try replacing chocolate spread with a light layer of almond butter. Almonds are high in the serotonin-producing tryptophan, helping the body regulate sleep.
Honey: Honey is a great alternative to sugar, and allows tryptophan to enter the brain.
Greek yoghurt: Greek yoghurt also contains a good helping of tryptophan, as well as being a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin B12. Combine with honey for a sweet and smooth topping.
Cherries: Cherries are a brilliant source of antioxidants and are packed with melatonin, helping you to relax and drift off. If you can’t get your hands on a pack of cherries, try getting a low sugar cherry jam.
It’s easy to think of pancakes as a ‘once in a while’ meal, but this banana alternative is a great everyday breakfast option, as well as healthier than sugar-loaded cereals. Plus, the batter mix will last up to 2 days in the fridge, so you can whip up a quick batch of pancakes in the morning, even when you’re in a hurry.
So whether you’re starting your day with an indulgent breakfast or enjoying an after-work snack, there’s no reason not to enjoy a sizable stack of pancakes, and then a good snooze later on.