French toast is one of those classic comfort foods that just hits the spot on lazy weekend mornings. But between the eggs, bread, and syrup, traditional recipes can pack a pretty heavy calorie punch. As a health-conscious foodie and mom, I’ve played around with ingredients to create healthier versions that don’t ruin the delicious flavor.
In this post I will share my tips for lightening healthy french toast recipe so you can enjoy this breakfast treat without feeling guilty. With a few simple substitutions and cooking tips, you can cut calories and boost nutrition, while still achieving that crisp-out, custardy-inside perfection. Let’s ditch the fake syrup-soaked stuff and make some fabulous healthy french toast!
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Why I Had to Figure Out a Lighter Healthy French Toast Recipe
Before I spill the secrets, let me tell you what prompted my experimentation with healthier french toast in the first place. As someone who loves food but also wants to feel good, I noticed my classic french toast recipe was a bit over-the-top:
- Multiple eggs and full-fat milk meant sky-high cholesterol and saturated fat
- The white bread I used had little nutritional value
- Mounded with syrup, one serving could hit 500+ calories – yikes!
I knew that I could do it better. I wanted to enjoy this breakfast treat more often without an energy or guilt crash afterward.
So, I rolled up my sleeves and started tweaking my classic recipe…
I played with different bread options, egg substitutions, and lower-sugar toppings. After lots of trial and error, I landed on a version that checked all my boxes.
The taste and texture still totally satisfied my french toast cravings. But it was also lighter, brighter, and way more nutritious. Success!
Ready for my secrets to healthy french toast recipe that doesn’t disappoint? Keep reading the full post for tips on ingredients and the cooking methods.
Choose Whole Grain Bread for Fiber and Nutrients
The first switch to make is choosing a fiber-rich whole grain bread rather than plain white bread. Whole grains provide some important nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and magnesium that keep you energized all morning. The fiber will also help you fill up.
Some great options are whole wheat, whole grain oatmeal, sprouted grain, or a good high-fiber multigrain. I stay away from thick artisan breads since those can get too dense.
Look for a loaf that’s light and airy inside but will still hold up during soaking and cooking. My favorite is a nice sprouted whole grain.
Swap 1 Egg for Egg Whites to Cut Cholesterol
One simple trick to lighten up any french toast recipe is using more egg whites than whole eggs. For each whole egg, I substitute one egg white to cut back on cholesterol and saturated fat.
Two whole eggs + two egg whites per batch is my sweet spot. This lets you keep the rich egg flavor while scaling back the less-healthy components.
If you want it completely egg-free, whisk together one mashed banana plus 1/4 cup milk as the soaking liquid instead. More on dairy swaps coming up…
Milk Options: Low-Fat, Unsweetened Almond, or Oat Milk
When it comes to the soaking milk for french toast, you have a few options depending on your dietary needs:
- Low-fat milk– Use 1% or skim milk to slash calories and fat without compromising taste.
- Unsweetened almond milk– For a vegan, dairy-free choice that’s low calorie and low carb.
- Oat milk– Also dairy-free but a bit richer and creamier than almond milk. Still has fiber and nutrients.
No matter which milk you pick, choose unsweetened to avoid unnecessary added sugar!
I suggest using 1/2 to 3/4 cup total milk mixed with the eggs. Too much makes the bread soggy.
Flavor It Up with Vanilla, Cinnamon, and Fruit
To add flavor without excess sugar, I spike the soak with extracts and spices.
A teaspoon of vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon give it a lovely aroma and warmth.
And for a touch of sweetness, I add mashed ripe fruit like bananas, berries, or stone fruits. The fruit sugars cut down the need for table syrup.
Berries are my fave! I lightly mash them into the batter where they burst into delicious juicy pockets throughout the toast.
Cook it in a Nonstick Pan with Healthy Oil
The right cookware and oil is key to getting perfect french toast every time. I always use a nonstick skillet because the slices release easier.
For the cooking oil, go with one high in healthy monounsaturated fats like olive oil or avocado oil. I use just enough to lightly coat the pan – 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp tops.
Adding a touch of butter provides bonus flavor. But too much saturated fat defeats the purpose of lightening it up!
Top with Maple Syrup, Fruit, and Nuts
The fun part is topping your healthy french toast! Here are some of my favorite combos:
- Maple syrup– The real stuff in small doses adds sweetness without the nasty fake syrup chemicals.
- Fresh fruitlike bananas, berries, peach slices, etc. More fruit = less need for syrup.
- Nuts/seeds– Chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, or a sprinkle of chia seeds provide crunch.
- Natural yogurt– For a protein boost, dollop on some plain Greek yogurt.
- Nut butter– A drizzle of almond or sunflower butter satisfies a sweet craving.
The options are limitless! Play around with fun fruits, nuts, seeds, spices, and natural sweeteners as toppings.
Bonus Tips for Perfect Healthy French Toast Recipe
With the right ingredients and cooking method, you can enjoy healthy french toast that’s just as tasty as full-fat versions. Here are a few more tips:
- Rest thicker bread for at least 15 minutes after soaking so the liquid absorbs into the middle.
- Cook over medium-low heat to prevent burning before the center cooks through.
- Spray with a little oil halfway through cooking for even browning.
- Cook in batches rather than overcrowding the pan which can make it soggy.
- Keep finished toast warm in a 200°F oven on a cooling rack if needed between batches.
Get ready to satisfy your morning cravings with my lightened-up healthy french toast recipe! What are your favorite healthy bread, milk, or topping options? Let me know in the comment sections!