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Recipe Makeover: Healthier Whole Wheat Waffles

With the New Year to it’s start, I’ve been thinking about my eating habits. I do pretty well, but I know there are a few areas that I could improve on and breakfast is one of them. I love sweets for breakfast and I think it’s pretty evident here on the blog (see: Breakfast and Brunch recipes).

healthier whole wheat flax waffles

I don’t eat like that every day, but I want to incorporate some every day make ahead breakfast recipes, things like muffins and waffles, that are healthy enough to eat on a regular basis. The first recipe that came to mind was our family’s favorite waffle recipe. I knew I could give them a recipe makeover and still maintain the delicious flavor and texture.

3 Tips to For Healthier Waffles

1. Decrease the Sugar

  • In this waffle recipe I was able to cut the sugar down to almost a third of the original amount.
  • To add a little extra flavor to compensate for the sugar loss, I added some orange and cinnamon as well as substituting brown sugar for the original granulated sugar.

2. Swap at least half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.

  • This is probably the simplest step you can take to make a recipe a bit healthier.
  • I have a NutriMill Grain Mill to grind my own fresh, whole wheat flour. I grind several cups at once and store it in gallon sized Ziploc bags in the freezer to maintain freshness. See my Nutrimill Review for more info.

3. Decrease the fat (i.e. butter).

  • There are many ways you can do this, ultimately you’ll have to figure out what works best for you. In the waffle recipe, I simply cut out much of the butter completely without replacing it with anything else.
  • In recipes like muffins where you will miss the moisture and tenderness that butter or oil provides, you can substitute part of the fat for lighter ingredients that will provide moisture: yogurt, applesauce, Homemade Pearsauce, pumpkin puree, or other fruit puree.
  • If a recipe calls for butter, consider substituting for a healthier olive oil or canola oil instead.
healthier whole wheat flax waffles

These waffles are not difficult to make. We often make a triple batch so we can have leftover throughout the next week or two. Leftover waffles store easily in the freezer for a quick weekday breakfast. Now that the recipe is healthier for the body, I certainly won’t feel too guilty eating waffles for breakfast on a more regular basis. Paired with some fruit and yogurt – what a meal!

To freeze the waffles, we cool them completely on a wire cookie cooling rack and then place them in gallon sized Ziploc bags to freeze. When you are craving waffles for breakfast, just pop the frozen waffles in the toaster to thaw and reheat.

With half the butter, whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, added flax, and almost a third of the sugar, these waffles are every bit as yummy and much healthier. Cinnamon, orange juice, and zest add a little extra flavor so you don’t even miss all that sugar.

For something extra fun and seasonal, I made cranberry orange maple syrup to top these waffles with, but if you’re concerned about the added natural sugar of the syrup try topping the waffles yogurt and fruit for a lighter option. Or, if you  need a protein kick, smear some almond butter on the waffles and top them with sliced banana.

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healthier whole wheat flax waffles

Whole Wheat Flax Waffles with Cranberry Orange Maple Syrup

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

I took my favorite waffle recipe and reduced the sugar, plus added flax. They have some great health benefits now so I wouldn't hesitate to serve them at any meal of the day!


For the Waffles

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons cold-milled flax
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • juice of one orange
  • zest of half an orange

For the Cranberry Maple Syrup

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


For the Waffles

  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Sift brown sugar, flour, flax, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add egg yolks and milk to dry ingredients and beat together thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Stir 1/2 of the egg whites into the waffle batter, and then fold in the remaining egg whites and stir (do not beat) until mixed. Add butter, orange juice, and zest, and mix until smooth.
  4. Grease the waffle iron, if necessary. Pour scant 1/3 c of batter on the heated waffle mold. Makes about 10-16 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle iron.

For the Cranberry Maple Syrup

  1. Combine the cranberries, maple syrup, and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat to bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch into the water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the syrup and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes more, or until the cranberries are tender.
  2. If the syrup is not thick enough for your liking, add a teaspoon or two more of cornstarch while the syrup is cooking until the desired thickness is reached.
  3. Serve alongside waffles. Syrup will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.


Adapted from Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup and Pecans

To freeze the waffles, we cool them completely on a wire cookie cooling rack and then place them in gallon-sized Ziploc bags to freeze.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 252Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 58mgSodium 182mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 4gSugar 26gProtein 7g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!


Thursday 24th of May 2012

I replaced baking powder(I ran out of it) with 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 cup yoghurt and skipped butter and replaced 1/3rd cup of wholewheat flour for brown rice flour and used unrefined whole cane sugar,they were just awesome.thank you for sharing the recipe


Friday 22nd of July 2011

I made these and wrote about them here. I loved their slightly sweet orange-y taste. They were tasty enough to eat without syrup. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you for sharing your healthy(er) recipe.


Saturday 15th of January 2011

VERY Good I made them for breakfast. I used Blueberries instead of cranberries. VERY Tasty. Thanks


Monday 10th of January 2011

NOM! These look so absolutely delish. And with a photo like that, we just had to feature them over on the weekend recap of our fave recipes!


Sunday 9th of January 2011

A great idea for the kids in the morning.

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