We’ve all heard of “carbing up” for a race or long ride. Carbohydrates provide the necessary fuel for sustaining a long workout, but all carbs are not created equal. Your body is your machine, so consciously choose high-grade carbs for high-end performance.
We’ve created four complex carb recipes to give a nutritious and delicious start to your day. We chose classic comfort foods with familiar flavor profiles, but used natural and whole super ingredients instead of processed and refined options. Swapping out ingredients is simple once you get the hang of it. Try these for recipes to get you started, then experiment with your own favorites.
Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
This delicious spicy cake is a classic for a reason. It’s wonderful with your morning coffee, and a perfect complement to afternoon tea. Serve it with a scoop of coconut milk ice cream for a decadent dessert. We’ve taken all the flavors of a traditional coffee cake and swirled in ribbons of guilt-free chocolate fudge. This recipe is sure to satisfy your long distance needs.
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- ½ cup whey protein powder – vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 ripe banana, sliced
- ½ cup egg whites
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp real maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp whey protein powder – vanilla
- 1 tbsp almond meal (finely ground almonds)
- 1 tbsp cold coconut oil
- ½ tsp maca powder
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8” square baking pan with coconut oil cooking spray. Cake layer: in a food processor blend oats to a fine meal. Add remaining dry ingredients, pulse to blend. Add egg whites, vanilla extract and banana. Pulse until well blended. Pour this thick batter into baking pan. For the chocolate swirl ribbons, combine cacao powder, maple syrup and coconut oil into small glass bowl. Place into microwave for 15 seconds to soften coconut oil. Blend well with small whisk. Pour this thick fudge in three thick strips on top of first cake layer. Use the back of a knife to drag the fudge layer through the cake layer. Bake for 10 minutes. While cooking, create crumble topping; place all ingredients into small glass bowl, and use the back of a fork to cut in coconut oil, combining all ingredients and creating a crumbly texture. Spread topping evenly over cake, return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Super Ingredient: Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a staple that’s not only delicious, but delivers some wonderful health benefits. Studies show that it regulates blood sugar, reduces cholesterol levels, reduces pain linked to arthritis, is a natural food preservative, and is said to raise your metabolism. So go ahead, sprinkle it on desserts, drinks, even savory dishes benefit from a dash of cinnamon.
Super Ingredient: Cacao Powder
Raw cacao powder, not to be confused with cocoa powder, is high in antioxidant flavonoids, and has been used in South American cultures for centuries for medicinal purposes. Raw cacao helps to oxygenate the blood and it’s high sulfur content builds strong nails and hair. As opposed to processed cocoa powder, which can contain sugar and dairy, pure cacao powder can seem bitter tasting at first, so pairing it with naturally sweet ingredients like coconut sugar or honey is a wonderful and natural way to satisfy that sweet chocolate craving.
Biscuits & Gravy
Biscuits and gravy is a hearty, belly-warming classic. This vegan and gluten free recipe is an terrific option for your guests with dietary restrictions. Flour, or meal, made from garbanzo beans is a terrific flour substitute in savory, baked items. Flour made from quinoa is a surprisingly versatile ingredient, as it takes on the surrounding flavors in a recipe. Serve this as a side dish, or add caramelized onions and vegan breakfast sausage to the gravy to make it main course.
- 1 ½ cup garbanzo bean meal
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp thyme
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ cup quinoa flour
- ½ cup + unsweetened almond milk
- ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 tbsp tarragon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp thyme
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil cooking spray. In large glass bowl, combine garbanzo bean meal and water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, letting the meal rise and thicken. Fold in thyme. Drop by the spoonful into muffin tins, this will create the shape of the biscuits. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cooked all the way through. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan. In large saute pan, over medium heat, coat generously with coconut oil cooking spray. Add sliced mushrooms to heated pan. Allow to brown for 3-4 minutes per side. When completely browned, add tarragon, stir to coat. Remove from heat, set aside.
In a large non-stick pot, over medium heat, add coconut oil. Allow to melt and heat. Add quinoa flour, whisk vigorously to combine. Add almond milk, whisk vigorously to create a smooth texture, removing the lumps. Add additional almond milk if needed. Turn heat down to low, continuing to whisk. Add spices and sauteed mushrooms. Allow to thicken and cook on low for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring often.
Return the large saute pan that you used for the mushrooms to the stove, on medium heat and coat with coconut oil. Don’t worry about leftover bits of tarragon. Remove the biscuits from the muffin tin and slice in half. Place biscuit halves into saute pan, allowing a crisp crust to form on edges. Once biscuits are golden brown and gravy has thickened, serve biscuit halves with gravy generously spooned over top. Garnish with fresh herbs.
Super Ingredient: Garbanzo Bean Meal
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are an excellent source of fiber, protein and good carbohydrates. When turned into a flour, or meal, it becomes and great substitute for bleached white flour. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, these beans are a staple in the Middle Eastern diets. They help lower cholesterol and promote digestive health. Turn the meal into a delicious pizza crust, puree the beans into a hummus spread, or bake the whole beans for a crunchy snack.
Super Ingredient: Quinoa
Quinoa, known as the supergrain of foods, is actually a vegetable seeds from a plant related to spinach. It’s a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. A complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, it contains fiber, iron and is gluten free. It’s a terrific substitute for pasta, and pairs perfectly with black beans. When ground into a flour, it’s a perfect thickening agent for gravies and sauces.
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Latte
Pumpkin is all the rage lately, and with good reason, it’s delicious! Luckily, it’s also good for you. Real pumpkin is a full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Whether you choose to roast and puree your own pumpkin, or purchase canned pumpkin, be sure to buy organic, pure pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling that’s packed with sugars and preservatives. This pumpkin spice oatmeal latte is a perfect morning meal before you hit the trails. This warm mug of goodness is packed with good carbohydrates and a shot of espresso to get your day going!
- ¼ cup gluten free oats
- 1 tbsp flax meal (ground flax seeds)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, cloves, ginger & nutmeg)
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 shot of espresso (or ¼ cup strongly brewed coffee)
- ¼ cup + almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1 tbsp real pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp real maple syrup
- ¼ cup crushed walnuts
Place oats, flax meal, spices and vanilla into large coffee mug or bowl. Add 1 shot of hot, freshly brewed espresso to oats, allow the oats to cook in the espresso 3-5 minutes. While oats are cooking, steam almond milk to 140 degrees, or heat over low heat in a small sauce pan, whisking to create foam. Return to your now cooked oats, add pumpkin puree, maple syrup and steamed milk, stirring to combine. Spoon milk foam on top. Add crushed walnuts or all-natural granola of choice for crunch. Top with a dash of cinnamon and swirl of local honey.
This recipe can be easily adjusted into an array of flavors. Simply omit the pumpkin, spices and walnuts for the add-ins of your choice; use cacao powder for an oatmeal mocha, try cubed apples and caramel, or decadent natural peanut butter and chocolate. Not a coffee fan? Use steeply brewed chai tea instead of espresso and top with natural granola for crunch. The possibilities are deliciously endless.
Super Ingredient: Oats
Oats are a heart healthy source of dietary fiber. Their high concentration of well-balanced protein and complex carbohydrates are perfect source of energy and will keep you fuller longer. This grain aids in lowering blood cholesterol, and can spread the rise in blood sugars over a longer period of time, resulting in sustained energy.
Super Ingredient: Flax
Flax seeds, which can be ground into flax meal using a food processor or coffee grinder, have a high omega-3 fatty acid content. They also contain lignans, which are fiber-like compounds that provide antioxidant protection, and their mucilage content keeps your intestinal tract happy. Flax is a superfood that’s easy to incorporate into your diet. Add flax meal to baked goods, pancakes and waffles, or use flax oil and balsamic vinegar on your salads.
While ginger is a favorite around the holidays , it’s spicy bit makes it appealing year-round. Begin your day with these protein-packed gingersnap muffins, or serve them in the afternoon with a spoonful of coconut milk drizzled on top. This simple recipe uses healthy ingredients that are sure to satisfy your tastebuds and your waistline.
- -¾ cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)
- ¾ cup brown rice protein powder – chocolate
- ¾ cup all natural apple sauce
- ⅓ cup egg whites
- 1 ½ tbsp coconut oil
- ⅓ cup blackstrap molasses
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp ginger
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 1 tbsp cloves
- 1 ½ tsp organic baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Spoon mixture evenly into 12 muffin tins. Bake 15-20 minutes, until the center is cooked through. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with ground ginger or serve with a splash of coconut milk.
Super Ingredient: Blackstrap Molasses
Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that’s surprisingly good for you. It’s a great source of calcium, manganese, potassium and magnesium. It’s high iron content makes it a lower-calorie alternative to red-meat for those who are seeking to raise iron levels. It’s distinctive taste pairs wonderfully with ginger, and works well in savory barbecue dishes.
Super Ingredient: Coconut Sugar
Coconut is an incredible superfood. It delivers nutritional benefits in all of its forms. When turned into a sugar, it has a rich, sweet flavor similar to brown sugar. This low-glycemic sugar doesn’t spike blood sugar levels, as other sweeteners do, and it’s packed with vitamins, minerals and amino acids.