Food For Fitness: Sweet Potato Pancakes

Regular physical activity is key to keeping your weight in check and your body in peak condition. But working out on a stomach full of processed foods or cutting calories by not eating before or after your workouts can lead to less than optimal results. Carbohydrates are an important macronutrient especially if you are active and sweet potatoes provide plenty of complex carbohydrates for energy and recovery, along with a number of other health benefits. They are also versatile, easy to prepare and taste great, making them the ideal fitness food.
Carbohydrates are considered to be the “master fuel” and the preferred fuel source for athletes because they provide your working muscles with glucose during exercise and help you to recover and build muscle after exercise by restoring muscle glycogen. Athletes should aim for between 0.3 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight up to 12 grams per kilogram of body weight per day depending on the type and intensity of training. A casual exerciser should aim for the lower end and an ultra endurance athlete the upper end. One medium sweet potato provides about 24 grams of high quality complex carbohydrates along with 4 grams of dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C and antioxidants.
One of the easiest ways to include more sweet potatoes in your diet is to use them to make pancakes. Traditional pancakes can be less than healthy, however it’s easy to transform this meal into a perfect post-workout recovery dish that will leave you feeling full and energized and ready for the next workout. When making sweet potato pancakes, don’t expect them to be light and fluffy – instead the potato makes them denser, and the batter thicker than traditional pancake batter. They won’t “bubble” like traditional pancakes so watch that they are cooked thoroughly and not burned. You can make recipes with or without flour, eggs, or protein powder and still end up with amazing results. The instructions for making the following sweet potato pancake recipes are the same: Cook a medium sweet potato and use a spoon to scoop out the center; combine the potato and the other ingredients in a high-speed blender and process into a batter. Cook on a nonstick griddle or skillet until lightly browned. Enjoy immediately!
The following recipes should get you started on your way to building the perfect post-workout meal.
Classic Sweet Potato Pancakes
Ingredients for one serving:
·      ½ cup mashed sweet potato
·      3 egg whites or 2 eggs
·      1 Tbs coconut flour
·      1 tsp nutmeg
·      ¼ tsp baking soda
·      ¼ tsp vanilla
·      1 tsp Stevia
·      nutmeg to sprinkle on top
High Protein Sweet Potato Pancakes
Ingredients for one serving:
·      ½ cup mashed sweet potato
·      ¼ cup oats
·      1 scoop of protein powder
·      3 egg whites
·      1 tsp vanilla extract
·      ½ tsp baking powder
·      1 tsp Stevia
·      1 tsp cinnamon
Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes
Ingredients for one serving:
·      ½ cup mashed sweet potato
·      3 egg whites or 2 eggs
·      ½ cup cottage cheese (or substitute tofu)
·      ¼ cup oats
·      ½ tsp baking soda
·      ½ teaspoon baking powder
·      1 tsp Stevia
·      1 tsp cinnamon

Variations: Add ½ cup of grated carrot, apple or zucchini for an extra serving of vegetable or fruit and added nutrition. You can also leave out the egg for vegan pancakes, the batter will be more dense but the end product will still be tasty!