We love homemade pancakes, but when you're in a rush, these store-bought mixes are a great healthy back-up option—and they taste great too.
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Healthy pancake mix that tastes great too? What a way to start your morning! Pancakes aren't exactly known for their stick-to-your-ribs staying power. So we analyzed nutrition labels for protein and fiber and sampled more than 30 brands to find the ones that will fill you up. Check out the five that were our absolute favorites out of them all. Pick up a package of the one that sounds best to you and whip up a batch of fluffy pancakes to make your morning that much better. Plus, get advice on some nutrition numbers to look for on the package.

Best Whole-Grain Pancake Mix

Wheat Montana Farms & Bakery 100% Whole Wheat with Flax Pancake Mix

140 cal, 5g fiber, 2g added sugar, 5g protein

Made with mild-tasting white whole-wheat flour, this mix cooks up light and fluffy. Flax adds fiber plus omega-3 fatty acids (buy it: Walmart, $4).

Best Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjack & Waffle Mix Buttermilk & Honey

180 cal, 5g fiber, 1g added sugar, 8g protein

A blend of whole-wheat and oat flours is lightly sweetened with honey to balance the tangy buttermilk flavor. Egg whites and wheat protein make this choice filling (buy it: Target, $5).

Best Protein Pancake Mix

Krusteaz Protein Pancake Mix Buttermilk

220 cal, 4g fiber, 7g added sugar, 15g protein

Whey and wheat protein pack this one with more than double the protein of most of our other picks. It has more added sugar than we'd like, but the cakes are enough to serve with less syrup (buy it: Walmart, $4).

Best Gluten-Free Pancake Mix

Simple Mills Almond Flour Pancake & Waffle Mix

Credit: Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

180 cal, 3g fiber, 5g added sugar, 4g protein

Nutty almond and coconut flours puff these up without the gumminess other gluten-free mixes have. Top with nut butter to hit our protein recommendation (buy it: Target, $8).

Best No-Added-Sugar Pancake Mix

Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Pancake & Waffle Mix

300 cal, 7g fiber, 0g added sugar, 6g protein

Coconut milk powder and cinnamon give this choice a wallop of flavor in every bite. Chia seeds bump the fiber count up to the highest on this list (buy it: Thrive Market, $6).

How to Shop for a Healthy Pancake Mix

1. Go for Whole Grains

Protect yourself against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and weight gain—all before lunch? Yes, please! Opt for a whole-grain mix over refined. But don't just pick up any box claiming whole grains on the front. Look for the word "whole" in the ingredient list and make sure it's listed first. Another clue: if fiber is very low (0-1 gram), the product is probably not whole-grain.

2. Added Sugar Is OK (within Reason)

A little bit of sugar can help balance out the natural bitterness of whole grains. But if you're also adding syrup to your stack, finding the line between lightly sweetened and dessert is tricky. Considering the American Heart Association caps added sugars at 25 grams for women a day (36 grams for men), limiting your pancakes to 5 grams per serving lets you have your syrup too. Just keep in mind: 1 tablespoon of maple syrup adds 12 grams of sugar.

3. Forgo the Flavored Mixes

Blueberry, chocolate chip, pumpkin spice-as tempting as these flavors sound, they aren't usually the healthiest options. They're rarely made with whole grains and can be seriously higher in sugar-we found several with 11 grams of sugar per serving. A better bet is to pick a standard mix and add your own mix-ins or toppings, like our recipe for Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes.

4. Focus on Fiber

Seeking out a version with 3 or more grams will help stave off hunger and help you reach the minimum fiber recommendation of 25 to 38 grams daily. Mixes made with 100% whole grains and/or with added seeds like chia and flax tend to have the highest amounts of this nutrient. When choosing grain-free, opt for blends with almond or coconut flour to get a fiber bump.

5. Pick Protein

Most pancake mixes have between 2 and 4 grams of protein per serving. For a little extra oomph, scan the ingredient list for buckwheat or chickpea flour, vital wheat gluten, seeds and pea or whey protein and choose a brand with at least 5 grams of protein per serving of dry mix.

Numbers to Look For:

(dry, unprepared)

Fiber: ≥ 3g

Protein: ≥ 5g

Added Sugar: ≤ 5g

Parts of this article originally appeared in EatingWell Magazine, December 2021.