French toast is a breakfast favorite for many. Whether making your own recipe on a weekend morning or sitting down to enjoy an artisan stack out at brunch, French toast provides many opportunities for customization and creativity. The versatile nature of the dish often inspires calorie-rich interpretations that, though delicious, are not the healthiest way to start your day.
All things are good in moderation – but if you’re looking to lighten up your next batch of French toast, check out these tips to build a healthier (but still delicious) stack.
1. Go back to basics with bread.
The base of your French toast is one of the biggest opportunities to add a healthier twist. Though a thick slice of cinnamon swirl bread is tempting, opt for a whole grain option instead. Be careful when choosing a loaf; though labels may say “whole wheat” or “multigrain”, this can be misleading and make the bread sound healthier than it really is. Read the label to make sure the first ingredient is whole wheat flour so you know you’re getting all the nutrients you want.
2. Get crafty with the coating.
When preparing your pan and creating the mixture to dip the bread in, opt for healthier options that will lighten the dish. Consider swapping whole milk for a low-fat or dairy free option; instead of coating the pan with butter, opt for olive oil or use a non-stick pan. These small changes can help lighten up the “frying” aspect of French toast to make it a smidge healthier.
3. Add a twist to your toppings.
Of course, the real shining star for most French toast stacks is the toppings. Whatever flavor you’re going for, pay attention to serving suggestions and try to use fresh fruits, spices and natural sweeteners to accomplish your breakfast vision. Instead of sugar-packed jams and jellies, use fresh fruit to get the same juicy flavor. Maple syrup or honey are fantastic natural sweeteners that shouldn’t be left out; just make sure you’re not going overboard by paying attention to serving suggestions.
Looking for some recipes to get started with? Check out this blog or this video.
Certain foods like French toast can often feel “off-limits” when dieting or trying to be more mindful of the food we eat; but with simple, healthy swaps at each level of the cooking process, you can achieve a healthier dish that still satisfies your cravings. There is a place for all food (in moderation!) in a healthy, well-balanced diet.