How to Make a Healthy Waffle

Make over your own recipe, or try this one from Consumer Reports' test kitchen

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Waffles with berries iStock-977292250

Let’s be honest: Waffles may be delicious, but they aren’t exactly good for you.

They’re usually made with ingredients that nutritionists say to limit, such as white flour, butter, and lots of sugar. A Belgian waffle from IHOP, for example, has 590 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 17 grams of sugars.

But with a few simple tweaks to the classic recipe, you can turn this tasty indulgence from a calorie and sugar bomb into a nutritious and satisfying meal.

Tips for Rethinking Your Recipe

Mix up the flour. Instead of using white flour, which adds empty calories, use white whole-wheat flour, which gives you the health benefits of whole grains with an end result that’s still light and fluffy.

Ditch the syrup, butter, and whipped cream. Two tablespoons of maple syrup adds 104 calories and 24 grams of sugar to an already indulgent meal. And a pat of butter adds 36 calories and 4 grams of fat.

More on Healthy Eating

Swap the sweet stuff for a handful of blueberries, sliced strawberries, or some banana slices, or even make your own fruit compote with frozen berries and a light sprinkling of sugar. You’ll get extra fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants from the fruit without the empty calories from maple syrup.

For something creamy to spread on top, try peanut butter or low-fat ricotta cheese flavored with cinnamon or vanilla extract.

When you’re ready to whip up a batch, try our healthy recipe below. And consider these top-rated waffle makers from Consumer Reports' tests.

Whole-Wheat Waffles With Wheat Germ

2 cups white whole-wheat flour

¼ cup toasted wheat germ

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon canola oil

Maple syrup, optional

Blueberries, optional

1. Mix the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. When ready to prepare, place dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, and oil.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with just a few strokes until the batter is evenly moistened.

4. Heat a nonstick electric waffle maker. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Scoop batter onto griddle (about ¼ cup per waffle, depending on size of waffle maker). Let waffle cook until the indicator light on the waffle maker turns on.

5. Serve immediately with maple syrup or fresh blueberries.

Makes about 14 waffles, depending on size of waffle maker.

Nutrition information per waffle: 130 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 18 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 7 g protein, 180 mg sodium.

Added Sugar in Breakfast

You might not realize how much added sugar is lurking in your breakfast. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, host Jack Rico learns from Consumer Reports' chief scientific officer, James Dickerson, how to avoid an overload of the sweet stuff.

Claudia Gallo

As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, I have been working with food for over 20 years. At Consumer Reports, I have been a food taster, recipe developer, and tester. I am an avid exerciser and when I am not at work you can find me kayaking or stand up paddling on the east end of Long Island.