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The trick takes out all the elbow grease of mashing a banana — and leaves you with adorable, bite-sized flapjacks.

By Megan Falk
April 05, 2021
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With their incredibly moist interior and slightly sweet flavor, banana pancakes are undeniably one of the top ways you can fashion a flapjack. After all, Jack Johnson didn't write about a blueberry stack, did he?

But recently, TikTok users have discovered a genius — and super simple — hack that takes the seemingly flawless breakfast food to the next level. To make standard banana pancakes, you smash an entire naner, incorporate it into your liquids, and mix in your dry goods, creating a thick batter. But with this trick, you whip up a plain pancake batter (either instant or from scratch), cut up a banana, and then use a fork to dunk each slice into the mixture. After you drop the slices on a hot griddle to cook for a few minutes, you're left with gooey, pancake-encrusted banana bites. You're welcome.

Even though this technique creates pancakes sized perfectly for the TikTok mini cereal trend, the tiny flapjacks still pack a ton of health perks, says Keri Gans, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N, a Shape Brain Trust member. "People think bananas are high in calories, but they overlook the nutritional value and what they provide," she explains. "They also think bananas are high in sugar, but remember, it's naturally occurring, so that means the sugar comes with all the health benefits of the vitamins and minerals, as well as the micronutrients such as fiber."

The 3g of fiber found in a medium banana does wonders for your gut and your heart by helping to prevent constipation, add bulk to stool, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease, all while keeping you full and satisfied, says Gans. Plus, bananas further keep your heart healthy thanks to their high potassium content, which helps control blood pressure, says Gans.

The pancake mix you choose to use also offers a chance to up your breakfast's nutrition, adds Gans. "If somebody wants to use pancake mix with regular white flour, that's fine," she says. "But I'd prefer that you use 100-percent whole-grain mixes if you're doing pancakes on a regular basis because it's another opportunity for a health benefit of fiber. And in general, 100-percent whole grains have been known to be heart-protective."

For a gluten-free pick, Gans suggests Purely Elizabeth's Ancient Grain Pancake Mix (Buy It, $21 for three, amazon.com), which contains 7g protein and 5g fiber per serving from the almond flour, ancient grains, and seeds. Bob's Red Mill's Organic 7 Grain Pancake & Waffle Mix (Buy It, $9, amazon.com) also offers the same amount of protein and fiber, says Gans, but it's not gluten-free as it's made from whole grain wheat, rye, spelt, corn, oat, Kamut, quinoa, and brown rice flours. If you want to turn your banana pancakes into a muscle-building, post-workout meal, consider using a protein-packed mix. TikTok user @thehungerdiaries sticks to Kodiak's Cinnamon Oat Power Cakes Mix (Buy It, $5, walmart.com), which boasts 14g protein and 4g fiber per serving thanks to pea protein. (Related: This Oatmeal Pancake Recipe Calls for Just a Few Pantry Staples)

No matter which type of mix you want to use for your tiny banana pancakes, though, make sure it doesn't contain trans fats, which may lower HDL cholesterol (aka the "good" kind) and could increase risk for heart disease, says Gans. You should also look at your mix's added sugar content and think about how that fits in with your overall diet, she adds. Remember, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends capping your added sugar intake off at 50 grams a day, so if you plan on smothering your flapjacks in syrup and also having a sweet treat before bed, consider opting for a no-sugar-added mix.

To give your mini banana pancakes another layer of flavor or texture, incorporate your favorite fixings into the batter. For a banana bread-esque flavor profile, sprinkle in a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. To quell your morning sweet tooth, toss in a handful of chocolate chips or shredded coconut. And for a satisfying crunch, whisk in some roasted nuts or chia seeds. Once your baby 'cakes are golden brown and piping hot, set them in a shallow bowl and douse them in maple syrup, Nutella, nut butter, or honey — if that's your thing. No matter which funky flavor combo you dream up, these banana pancakes can handle it. 

And if it feels strange to fill up on such a luxurious breakfast right before your Wednesday morning meeting, take a few words of advice from Jack himself: Make these banana pancakes and pretend like it's the weekend every day

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