Morning Workout Recovery: Carrot Cake for Breakfast

tough workout needs high protein breakfast treats

After a tough workout, high protein carrot cake is a great reward!

If I don’t get to the gym in the morning, there’s a good chance I won’t get there at all. But mornings are early for this night owl, so I usually don’t eat before my workout (especially if it’s a yoga class). Much of the literature (and trainers I know) talk about having something to eat within 20-40 minutes of completing your workout. But that falls squarely in the showering/getting dressed time slot. I’m still at the gym with no fridge or stove or blender handy.

I’ve been searching for the perfect portable, post-workout breakfast. Perfect (to me) means lots of protein, a dose of fiber, low sugar and no chemicals, gluten, soy, corn or dairy. Something that doesn’t need refrigeration or heating, that can sit in my gym bag for a few hours or overnight (so I don’t forget to pack it in the morning). Tall order! I have one of these great shakers for dry protein powder to which I add flax meal, cinnamon and turmeric the night before. At the gym, I add water and shake. But is it just me, or does drinking breakfast not feel as fulfilling as actually chewing?

I’ve been pretty happy with the Uber Coconut Macaroon bar as an occasional “chewing” breakfast, but I like variety. I checked out Greatist’s 9 Ways to Eat Cookies for Breakfasts and scoured my favorite food blogs. And I baked. Two more requirements presented themselves: The breakfast serving had to yield a reasonably good-sized portion for around 200 calories, and the cost of the ingredients had to be less than buying a good-quality nutrition bar.

That nixed these dense bars with organic, unsulphured turkish apricots that had to be cut into smallish 2″ squares to stay around 200 calories. They work as a mid-day snack on a very active day, and they are great for road trips or in a backpack as emergency food. But when cut into 2″ squares, one is not satisfying enough (for me) as a breakfast replacement. The search continued.

Then I found this delicious-looking recipe by Leanne Vogel on her site, It looks pretty healthy and it has the word CAKE in it. But I was hesitant to use 1/4 c of maple syrup. Yes it’s “natural,” but in my body it’s still sugar. Fortunately, I was able to tweak the recipe and still come up with a generous mini-loaf CAKE for breakfast. Did I mention it tastes like carrot cake?

portable carrot cake for post workout breakfast

Tucked into an outside pocket of my gym bag, this protein-packed carrot cake defrosts while I’m working out.

Here’s my version of this healthy, low-sugar, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free,  high-protein, high-fiber, post-workout breakfast CAKE. I’m going to bake another batch for the coming week, maybe with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices this time. If you try any variation that works, please share them, as well as your portable breakfast ideas. As I said earlier, I like variety!

Get the recipe


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