Tag Archives: carbs

30 Paleo Post-Workout Carb Refuel Recipes

carb refuel If you’re a Paleo athlete, you need to replace carbs post-workout for good performance in the long run. And no, I’m not talking about a tray of coconut honey-caramel chocolate-drizzled Paleo pizookies after each workout.

If you’re already well-versed in carbology (I made that word up), feel free to skip down to the lip-smacking recipes below. If not, keep reading for a short primer on carbs.

[*Note, folks who are interested in fat loss or are more sedentary likely don't need as many carbs those who are physically active people or athletes. However, you may need to play around with your carb intake to dial it in for your activity level.]

Athletes doing endurance-based or glycogen-depleting high-intensity workouts (like CrossFit, kettlebells, HIIT, etc), are prone to going too low carb because they forget to refuel with carbs post-workout (or they think Paleo is supposed to be no / low carb for everyone). If you’re a power athlete, you may want to play around with carb-cycling as another means of getting your glycogen refuel.

yam v. sweet potato

But how many carbs do I need? This will vary depending on many factors, so the best answer is to experiment. A very broad guideline for athletes is 50-100g in the post-workout window (ideally as soon as possible after the workout’s over).

The best source of carbs? Starchy veggies like sweet potato / yams, winter squash like butternut, root veggies like parsnips, etc are good options. This chart from Balanced Bites shows the carbohydrate content of several vegetables per 1 cup. The top 3 carb bang for the buck? Cassava (raw), plantain and sweet potato.

What about white potatoes? They tend to be vilified in Paleo, but when peeled (to avoid lectins and glycoalkaloids), they’re a great form of starch. If you have good body composition and are insulin-sensitive, you may want to try rotating them into your PWO refeed.

What about fruit? Starchy veggies contain, well, starch (chains of glucose) compared to fruit (the basic sugar of which is fructose). Glucose is more efficient at replacing the glycogen you’ve used up from your muscles during exercise. Fructose is preferentially broken used by the liver, not the muscles. Is this to say you can never, ever eat fruit? No, but it may be best to eat it post-workout, and it’s better to reach for a starchy veggie if you can.

What about safe starches like rice or tapioca? Rice is technically a grain (and therefore not “Paleo”) and while not perfect, for some folks is a decent alternative to rotate into their post-workout nutrition strategy. Tapioca is essentially starch (not a grain) so it would be Paleo and therefore acceptable. What’s not good about safe starches? They are pretty nutrient poor compared to equal volumes of their starchy veggie counterparts.

Notable comparisons (per 100 grams):

Sweet Potato

86 Calories

55 mg Sodium

337 mg Potassium

20 g Total Carbs

283% of daily value Vitamin A

4% of daily value Vitamin C

Rice

130 Calories

1 mg Sodium

35 mg Potassium

28 g Total Carbs

0% daily value Vitamin A

0% of daily value Vitamin C

I’ve collected 30 scrumptious recipes containing starchy veggie goodness into one place for you to browse and grouped them by the main veggie component.

Sweet Potato / Yams

5 Autumn Veggies (and Ways to Eat Them) from Jules Fuel

BBQ Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from Primally Inspired

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Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake from Stupid Easy Paleo

Slow Cooker Chorizo Mashed Yams from Rubies and Radishes

Sweet Potato Apple Pancetta Hash from Gutsy By Nature

Sweet Potato Brussels Sprout Hash from Nicky in the Raw

Sweet Potato Disks

Sweet Potato Chips from Hollywood Homestead

Sweet Potato Disks from Yuppie Farm Girl

Sweet Potato Fries from Hollywood Homestead

The Easiest Way to Make Sweet Potato Hash Browns from Real Food RN

Turkey Sweet Potato Pie from Beauty and the Foodie

Yam, Celery Root & Bacon Hash from Rubies and Radishes

Hard Squashes 

Butternut Squash Shephard’s Pie from Primally Inspired

Delicata Squash Soup from A Girl Worth Saving

Fall Harvest Chicken Soup from Primally Inspired

Rosemary Balsamic Butternut Squash from Stupid Easy Paleo

Plantains

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Homemade Jamaican Banana Chips from Nourishing Time

Mashed Green Bananas from Nourishing Time

Plantain Fries from Hollywood Homestead

Puerto Rican Style Plantains (aka Monfongo) from Beauty and the Foodie

Sweet Plantain Buns from Stupid Easy Paleo

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White Potatoes, Yuca, Beets, Tapioca

Oven Roasted Yuca Fries from Real Food

KosherEasy Skillet Potatoes from Real Food Outlaws

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Kale and Lemon from Gutsy by Nature

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes from Stupid Easy Paleo

Simple, Candied Beet Chips from Jules Fuel

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Bar from Health Home Happy

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Tapioca Flour Paleo Bread from Strands of My Life

Dessert-ish

Plantain Skillet Brownies from So Let’s Hang Out

Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Coconut Sugar from Real Food Outlaws

Pre- and Post-Workout Fueling Summary for Athletes

Pre Post Workout Venn 2.0 More on this to come soon, but here is a simple diagram to help you remember general fueling recommendations for pre- and post-workout nutrition.

In short, for a pre-workout meal, stick to protein and fat while the post-workout window – ideally within 15-30 min of finishing your training – should focus on protein and carbs. Both have protein in common. If you’re into performance, adequate protein is a must.

References: Robb Wolf, Whole9

Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake

Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake | stupideasypaleo.com

Tired of plain, baked yams as your go-to PWO carb supplement? This is a nice change of pace with a bit of a Thanksgiving twist. So easy.

I don’t use dried, sweetened cranberries, especially Ocean Spray or the like. They are usually loaded with sugar and tossed in canola oil (yuck). The apple and sweet potato will more than offset the tartness of the berries. I usually stock up with several bags of fresh cranberry this time of year and freeze them for convenient addition to any dish throughout the year.

Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake | stupideasypaleo.com

Ingredients for Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake

  • 6 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries*
  • 2 Tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • A pinch of sea salt

Directions for Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (~190°C). Grease the inside of a large baking dish with coconut oil or ghee.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and apples. Chop into uniform pieces, ~1/2″ dice.
  3. Place half the chopped sweet potato/apple into the dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cranberries, half the cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt.
  4. Repeat with remaining sweet potato, apple, cranberry, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Dot the top with small pieces of ghee or coconut oil.
  6. Bake covered  for ~1 hour or until the potato and apple have softened.

What do you think about the combination of apple and sweet potato?