Loving the BITE: Power Pancakes for all Cyclists
If you’re dragging throughout the morning, clinging to your coffee, starving by 10 am, or craving sugar or carbs all day, your breakfast could be to blame. A bowl of flakes high in carbohydrates and low in fiber, healthy fats and proteins just won’t sustain most athletes until lunch. Certainly wouldn’t sustain me. If you’re in the sub-optimal breakfast club, you’re missing an opportunity to fuel up right from the get-go and have long-lasting energy for any ride later in the day.
So, what’s your greatest obstacle to a top-notch, healthy breakfast? Lack of time? Lack of recipes and ideas? Lack of a morning appetite?
Typically, clients point to hectic morning schedules that demand a quick meal. Early morning training often compounds the rush. This week, we’ll add variety and make whole-food, high fiber, healthy fat, high protein Power Pancakes, that can be frozen and reheated for a top-notch easy, grab-n-go breakfast. And what’s more, at over 20 grams protein per serving, these make an excellent grab-n-go recovery as well.
Recipe of the Week: Whole-Food Grab-n-Go Power Pancakes
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup oats (old-fashioned) OR 1/3 cup nuts for a gluten-free, grain-free option
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds or ground flaxseeds
- 1 large egg (organic, cage-free)
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup berries
- 1 tsp organic honey, agave, or real maple
- 1 tsp organic coconut oil
- Mix all ingredients except coconut oil in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Mixture will thicken if allowed to set (the chia seeds absorb liquid and thicken).
- Preheat a griddle or large pan on medium heat. Add organic coconut oil and allow to melt. Turn pan to cover with oil. Pour or scoop 1/2 of batter onto pan in an even circle. Cook for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and cooked in the middle, then flip and cook the other side for about 2 minutes until it is golden brown and cooked through.
- Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve plain (perfect for Grab-n-Go) or add a dollop of Greek yogurt, additional berries, and a small amount of honey, agave, or real maple.
- If you’re looking for even more protein, you can add 1/2 – 1 scoop protein powder to the batter (mix well).
- To freeze, line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place cooled pancakes on lined sheet (not allowing pancakes to touch). Layer with foil/parchment paper and additional pancakes. To reheat, use toaster, microwave, or oven at 325 deg F.
Nutrition Info (entire recipe): ~375 calories, 19 gm fat, 256 mg sodium, 35 gm carb, 10 gm fiber, 9 gm sugar, 21 gm protein
Although I could list many studies that show a high protein breakfast promotes more satiety, less cravings, and less snacking than a refined carbohydrate one (or than skipping breakfast), I think this one’s a bit of a no brainer. Quick, refined carbs simply move through your digestive system, and are metabolized much quicker than fiber, protein, and healthy fats. The more time it’s in your stomach, and the slower it’s digested, the fuller you’ll feel for longer. The trick is feeling satisfied without feeling bogged down. The remedy? Healthy, nutrient-filled whole foods.
I think you’ve heard it before. But, just how far-reaching is a good, nutritious start to your day? In my experience working with endurance athletes, I’ve found a good breakfast promotes:
- Less calorie intake throughout the day from snacks. Although it does vary from person to person, most clients are better able to omit “grazing” on snack foods throughout the day when their meals are nutrient dense, and especially when high in protein and fiber.
- Better results with fat-loss with more calories early and a light evening intake. I’m a fan of eating the majority of calories during the day, when you’re most active, and significantly less in the evening, when you’re relaxing and going to bed. Instead of starving all day, and overeating in the evening, give your body fuel proactively, and then lighten up and the day goes on. A light evening intake just might improve sleep and leave you with a good appetite for breakfast.
- Continued healthy eating throughout the day. Just like exercise often promotes healthier eating (you don’t want to mess up your progress), starting your day with healthy foods can promote a continued pursuit of healthful meals and snacks. Starting with Pop-Tarts on the other hand, quickly causes a drag in energy, followed by a need for more “quick” energy, followed by a drag. And, if you’ve already messed it up, why not have some fast-food for lunch, right?
- Better recovery for those early morning cyclists and bike commuters. Many cyclists train first thing in the morning – breakfast is a great opportunity for recovery. If you commute to work, you can easily pack these pancakes and eat ’em when you get there (no need for extra toppings).
Roll these delicious pancakes up (crepe-style) and take them with you on the go. You’ll get the nutrients you need to start your day right, to recover from your ride, and to keep it going all day. This week, let’s begin each day as if it is on purpose.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.