The Best Protein Pancakes

with RILEY MILLERLiv Racing Collective

One thing I’ve learned this year while training, traveling, and racing is eating a good breakfast is key to my performance on the bike. Without the proper nutrition in the morning, I just don’t have the energy I need to put the power down on my bike.

At the same time, eating a big breakfast can be hard for many reasons – from rushing around trying to make it to an early morning start to just not being able to stomach food due to nerves. And if my day is going to start with a big pedal, eating a lot and having it sit like a ton of bricks in my stomach isn’t ideal.

For these reasons, one of my favorite breakfast foods is pancakes. They are quick and easy to make no matter where in the world I am, easy on my stomach, and by adding protein powder and nutrient-rich ingredients they are super-healthy! On top of that, I can choose how much to eat first thing in the morning (one or two pancakes with a little syrup or nut butter) and pack a few extra pancakes in my bag or stash some in the pits for easy snacking throughout the day.

The great thing about pancakes for breakfast is you can use what you have. Sometimes I have access to pancake mix. Since I am dairy-free, I’ll throw in a scoop of my vegan protein powder for an added boost and then follow the directions on the package. Other times, pancake mix may not be available so I will have to make them from scratch. Still, it isn’t too hard, and you can pretty much use whatever you have on hand.

Why Protein?

You might be wondering why your pancakes need protein. Regular pancakes are basically all bread, butter, and sugar, in other words: carbohydrates and fat. It’s good to have carbs in the morning because they will help fuel your activity and a little fat (but not too much) doesn’t hurt. But too much sugar and carbs without protein in the morning can equal an upset stomach and the fuel just doesn’t last as long. Adding protein in keeps you going for longer rides and helps with muscle growth, repair, and recovery! Because I’m dairy-free, I often find it hard to get enough protein in my diet daily, so adding extra protein everywhere I can is key to keeping my body happy.

Are pancakes the best pre-race or pre-training breakfast for everyone? Nope. Everyone is different! It all depends on your personal preference, if you’re doing long-distance or short-distance, and what time of day your event is at. Sometimes I change it up and eat eggs and toast or oatmeal.

How to Make Home-made Protein Pancakes

  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed (or ½ cup of pumpkin puree or apple sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup oats (or your favorite whole-wheat or gluten-free flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup milk (I use a protein-rich soy milk)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use vegan)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Butter for the pan (I use plant butter)

Optional Toppings or Add-Ins:

  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Pecans
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Nut Butter
  1. If using oats, grind the oats in a blender or food processor until they resemble flour. Add in baking powder, protein powder and cinnamon and blend just until combined.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed banana, egg, and milk.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until smooth. If the batter is too thick, add more milk until it reaches the desired consistency.
  4. Melt butter in a skillet on medium to medium-low heat until it begins to sizzle. Pour the batter into the skillet to make your desired size pancakes. I prefer smaller pancakes that I can bring with me on my ride, so I use a ¼ cup scoop. When the bubbles begin to form in the center of the pancake, flip it. When the other side is golden brown, remove from the skillet.
  5. Repeat the process until you make all the pancakes. Top with whatever you desire and enjoy!