Excited for pancake day? Be warned, your waistline could take a hit! Graphic shows how some topping combos can have more than a Big Mac

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Sweet and savoury pancake toppings contain more calories than a Big Mac
  • Many toppings contain about half an adults recommended daily sugar intake 

The calories in your pancake day feast might just crepe up on you…

Combinations of Brits favourite toppings, from chocolate spread and fruit to syrup and bacon, can stack up to hundreds of calories on Shrove Tuesday. 

For a portion of American style pancakes topped with syrup, butter and bacon is more calorific than a McDonald’s Big Mac.

And a single crepe served with Nutella and strawberries contains half an adults recommended daily intake of sugar.

To prevent your waistline from taking the hit today, nutritionists urge people to stick to fruit, nuts and Greek yoghurt.

You can hover over MailOnline’s interactive tool to see just how calorific your favourite pancake combinations are. 

This website’s audit of more than thirty toppings and six recipes for pancakes revealed the shocking amount of sugar, fat and calories they contain.

A single Scotch pancake (121 calories) or French Crepe (161 calories) are the least calorific base, while a large and fluffy American pancake is slightly more calorific (178 calories), according to recipes on BBC Good Food. 

Banana pancakes, popular among vegans and health fanatics, which swap out sugar for the fruit, contain 161 calories per pancake. 

Meanwhile, a vegan recipe, which replaces eggs and cow’s milk with vegetable oil and plant-based milk, has just 90 calories per pancake, according to recipes.

But go-to toppings can see the sweet treat soar to more than 500 calories.

One American pancakes topped with fried chicken and drizzled with maple syrup, has 527 calories, which is more than a McDonald’s Big Mac (493 calories).

A crepe flavoured with Nutella, which contains 8.4g of sugar in a teaspoon, with strawberries which contain about 4.9g of sugar in a serving, totals 16.3 g of sugar

A crepe served with a drizzle of Nutella contains 241 calorie and 11.4g of sugar. For comparison, a Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut has 195 calories and 12g of sugar.

Meanwhile, one banana pancake with banana, mixed nuts and honey has 511 calories and 46.9g of sugar.

For context, the average woman is advised to have 2,000 per day to maintain a healthy weight and a third of the 2,500 recommended for the typical man. 

Two tablespoons of milk chocolate chips (137 calories) or a banana (135 calories) are among the most calorific sweet options that can be added to pancakes, while fried chicken (310 calories) or a slice of cheese (125 calories) are among the most calorific savoury options.


Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count.

Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on

Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower-fat and lower-sugar options

Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide  


A banana was also among one of the most sugary options that could be added (27g), along with milk chocolate chips (14.3g) and 25g of marshmallows (14.2g). 

However, the sugar in bananas is naturally-occurring, while those in chocolate and marshmallows are added. Health chiefs recommend cutting back on this type of sugar (to no more than 30g a day), as it can lead to tooth decay and weight gain. 

However, simpler combinations can cut down on the calories in your pancake. 

Just adding lemon and a teaspoon of sugar to your crepe would total 178 calories and 7.1g of sugar.

Meanwhile, a Scotch pancake with butter contains 195 calories, while adding strawberry jam instead would bring the total to 158 calories. 

However, there are healthier options that can satisfy both a sweet and savoury tooth, says Rob Hobson, a registered nutritionist and author of Unprocess Your Life.

He suggests sticking to fruit, nuts and yoghurt.

‘Fresh fruits are great, such as berries and bananas, which also work well with a thin spread of nut butter. Fruits offer a source of vitamin C and potassium while nut butter is a good source of vitamin E,’ he says.

‘You can also make your own compote really easily by placing frozen berries in the microwave for 30 seconds until they soften into a thick sauce, which is great with Greek yoghurt.

‘Nuts and seeds are great too and can be sprinkled on both sweet and savoury pancake options.’

But if you want to tuck into something more substantial, he suggests topping your pancake with avocado slices, spinach and a sliced boiled or poached egg.

Mr Hobson also recommends avoiding adding sugar to the pancake mix. 

He said: ‘As far as the pancake is concerned, I think it makes little difference if you use the same type of batter made with flour, eggs and milk (baking powder for American style).

‘I would probably leave any sugar out of the pancake mix and go for natural sweetness from fruits and maybe a little honey.’



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