French toast is a popular breakfast staple because it is fast, delicious, versatile, and easy to make.
However, the standard recipe of French toast can be a little rich in carbs, fats, and therefore, calories.
If you want to know how to make French toast healthy, you’re in for a treat! In today’s guide, you’ll find a brief guide that shows you how to make a remarkably delicious yet healthier version of French toast. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Technically speaking, for a meal to be healthy, it needs to have a wide range of healthy macro and micronutrients all the while being not too high in calories.
Macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats while micronutrients are other essential elements like minerals, vitamins, and digestible fibers.
If we apply that to French toast, we can find that it’s actually a relatively healthy meal if consumed in moderation.
However, due to the versatility of French toast, it highly depends on the way you prepare it as well.
For example, French toast that is prepared with heavily processed sugar, butter, jam, and bread isn’t healthy, especially if you consume it in large quantities. Such a recipe can reach up to 450 calories or more per serving.
On the other hand, French toast with whole grain ingredients, and more organic ingredients would be a lot healthier with even fewer calories at around 300 to 350 calories per serving.
In other words, while the classic French toast recipe is fairly healthy, you can make the recipe a whole lot healthier by adjusting and replacing some of the ingredients as well as the toppings.
If you want to make a healthier version of French toast, here’s a simple guide that walks you through the entire process, including tips to enjoy a crispy finish that tastes as lovely as the original recipe!
This recipe contains 4 servings, so adjust the ingredients accordingly if you want to make larger or smaller batches.
The first and most important step while preparing a healthy French toast is to replace the under-nutritious ingredients with healthier alternatives. These ingredients include:
Instead of white bread that is packed with simple carbohydrates, consider opting for whole grain bread or rye bread that is rich in complex carbs and has a lower glycemic index.
Whole grain bread isn’t only lower in calories, but it’s also more filling while having a very similar taste profile to regular bread, especially after dipping and frying the French toast.
For best results, consider using 1 to 2-day-old bread, as stale bread gives better results with French toast!
You can also opt for special alternatives like dairy-free or gluten-free bread without compromising the flavor.
Eggs are vital ingredients for the success of your French toast and a great source of digestible protein.
While you can make French toast without them, we highly recommend that you keep the eggs because other substitutions heavily compromise the flavor and texture of the French toast.
However, a vegan alternative here would be using 1.5 teaspoons of ground flaxseed along with 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder, a tablespoon of water, and 1/4 cup of cornstarch.
Milk is an essential ingredient for the batter and works as the liquid vehicle of the dipping batter of the French toast.
Instead of regular whole-fat milk, you can go for skimmed varieties with significantly lower calories.
However, you can also use other alternatives like oat or almond milk if you’re making a vegan/dairy-free French toast.
Instead of using regular unsalted butter for frying, you can go for vegan butter, or even better, coconut oil. In addition to having fewer calories, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides with various health benefits.
Now that you’ve substituted all the fatty ingredients of French toast, all that’s left is to gather the rest of the seasoning, which are healthy and suitable for special diets anyway, including:
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- A dash of salt
To save yourself time and reach optimal temperature, start by preheating your frying skillet over medium heat for 30 to 60 seconds.
While the skillet or griddle is warming up, lightly grease it with coconut oil and spread it around evenly to prevent the French toast from sticking.
Meanwhile, prepare a clean medium-sized bowl and add your eggs, then whisk them until they’re well blended.
After that, add the milk, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and any other seasoning you’d like to add, such as orange zest, and stir the mix until it’s well combined.
Make sure that the bowl is large enough for the bread to be dipped inside, or transfer the mixture to a wide plate with raised edges
Now that your egg batter is ready, it’s time to soak your bread of choice in it. Simply dunk the bread slices in the mix. For thicker bread slices, you’ll need to dunk them from both sides.
An important tip here is to only limit the soaking time to around 7 to 12 seconds so that the bread doesn’t get too soggy but still has enough egg batter to achieve this delicious golden brown crust.
After soaking your bread slices in the egg batter, start placing them on the greased hot surface of the griddle or the skillet.
Allow the toast to cook for around 10 to 15 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown, then cook it on the other side until it gets a similar color.
The bread will cook very quickly so keep an eye on it and don’t leave the bread there for too long.
After repeating the previous steps with all the bread slices, it should be ready for serving. Luckily, you can choose any healthy toppings that you like from the list below to make your French toast more appealing and delicious!
Toppings are a major part of the recipe and add a lot of character and flavor to your French toast.
In addition to improving the flavor of your french toast, toppings can add a lot of nutritional value to your meal, so here are some of the healthiest French toast toppings to consider:
Instead of using jam or fruit yogurt as toppings for your French toast, you can opt for fresh or frozen fruits, especially berries.
Berries are low on calories and rich in multiple vitamins and minerals. You can also go for sliced bananas, apples, pears, and apricots.
If you like drizzling some syrup over your French toast, you can substitute it for honey, which has a lot of health benefits when compared to simple syrup. You can also go for maple syrup if you like its flavor.
If fresh fruits don’t cut it for you, you can try them in caramelized form. This works very well with bananas, apples, peaches, and more. Simply fry them in the same skillet where you prepared the French toast.
Coconuts are incredibly healthy and have a unique flavor that can add a layer of depth to the flavor profile of your regular French toast.
Granola is an excellent topping for French toast but you can also add it to the egg batter to give a crunchy texture to the toast. Compared to other breakfast snacks, granola is quite healthy too!
Similarly, you can crush some unsalted nuts and use them as a topping or also as an additive to the egg batter for texture and taste!
With that said, you now know more about the health benefits of French toast and how to make a healthier version that is rich in nutrients and low in unhealthy carbs and fats.
In the end, you have to remember that versatility is one of the best things about French toast. In other words, you can simply mix and match a variety of ingredients to optimize the recipe to your palate or make it even healthier!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.