If you're on board with the mission to normalize eating nutrient-rich versions of carrot cake muffins, cookies, baked oats, and the like for breakfast, you've come to the right place. Not only are carrots themselves packed with vitamins and minerals that can help get you off to a great start, some of the common ingredients in carrot cake are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties, making them an excellent choice for early mornings.
- Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, registered dietitian and recipe developer
“Thanks to their orange hue, carrots are a great source of the antioxidant beta-carotene that gets converted into vitamin A in the body,” says registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, the founder and recipe developer behind Once Upon a Pumpkin. According to Michalczyk, vitamin A not only boasts antioxidant properties, but is also important for your vision, cell health, and immunity, among other functions. “Carrots are also a great source of fiber, biotin, vitamin K, and potassium,” she adds. Fiber is a great first-thing-in-the-morning nutrient given that it helps you stay regular and fights inflammation. Biotin, or vitamin B7, plays a key role in maintaining your body's energy levels, while vitamin K helps with bone strength, and potassium helps your body regulate fluids.
But the carrots aren't the only ingredient in these carrot cake breakfast recipes that fights inflammation. “Nuts that are typically found in carrot cake are a strong source of protein and healthy fats, which are key parts of an energizing breakfast. And spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves also contain anti-inflammatory properties," Michalcyzk says.
If you’re looking for some super nutritious ways to incorporate more dessert-y flavors into your morning regimen, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite healthy carrot cake breakfast recipes that will have you, ahem, hopping into the kitchen as soon as your alarm goes off.
7 anti-inflammatory carrot cake breakfast recipes
1. Carrot cake oatmeal breakfast cookies
It’s hard to go wrong with cake in cookie form any time of the day, but in the morning, it’s really something worth getting up for. This recipe from Erin Lives Whole is loaded with protein, fiber, and antioxidants, thanks to the rolled oats and oat flour, cinnamon, ginger, carrots, raisins, and nuts. Feel free to use whatever type of nuts you have on hand—almonds and walnuts are traditional, but cashews, pistachios, or pecans would be equally divine. The one-ingredient frosting is the (literal) icing on the cake!
Get the recipe: Carrot cake oatmeal breakfast cookies
2. Gluten-free healthy carrot cake bars
These cream cheese-coated carrot cake bars have the added benefit of being gluten-free, so even those with celiac or a gluten sensitivity or allergy can get in on the carrot cake breakfast action. Like Ana Ankeny, the recipe developer at The Real Food Dietitians says, "Spring and carrots go together like May and flowers!" The bars are made with fresh grated carrots, warm cinnamon, a handful of walnuts, and applesauce, which makes them especially moist and tender with a toothsome crunch.
Get the recipe: Gluten-free healthy carrot cake bars
3. Carrot cake oatmeal
Think oatmeal is a snooze-worthy breakfast? Think again. This no-bake carrot cake recipe is a breeze to pull off—it takes just 10 minutes to make—and just as delicious as the actual carrot cake. BTW, the recipe developer over at Krolls Korner, Tawnie, is a real-deal registered dietitian, so you know you're going to be starting your day off on the right foot with this one. We love that she includes some crushed pineapple in the dish—talk about the secret oatmeal ingredient you never knew you needed.
Get the recipe: Carrot cake oatmeal
4. Healthy carrot cake muffins with cream cheese glaze
These healthy morning muffins look exactly like cupcakes, and we're here for it. They’re not only great tasting, but they're completely free from refined sugar if you bake them glaze-free. Want to make them gluten-free? Go for it: Ambitious Kitchen suggests using chickpea flour (talk about major anti-inflammatory benefits) in place wheat flour.
Get the recipe: Healthy carrot cake muffins with cream cheese glaze
5. Healthy carrot cake granola
We love this granola from Not Enough Cinnamon for its versatility. Add it on top of oatmeal or yogurt for added flavor and great crunch. And where to even begin with its anti-inflammatory benefits? Nearly every ingredient in this breakfast recipe fights free radicals in the body and packs antioxidants, from the rolled oats, coconut flakes, and warming spices to the golden raisins and toasted pecans. Pro tip: Keep it in the fridge if you like your granola extra crunchy.
Get the recipe: Healthy carrot cake granola
6. Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
We love a good baked oatmeal for its fabulous crust and gooey center. This easy recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod has quickly become a regular in the morning rotation. We love that it's big batch-friendly rather than single-serve—and if you want to make the oatmeal in muffin cups instead of a pan so you can take your breakfast on the go, just shorten the baking time to roughly 20 minutes and pull them out when they’re golden brown.
Get the recipe: Carrot cake baked oatmeal
7. Carrot Cake Baked Oats With Cashew Cream Cheese
"[This carrot cake baked oats recipe] is full of carrots and oats, so lots of fiber to keep you full and satisfied for most of the morning," baker, nutrition coach, and fitness instructor Sashah Handal says in the episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, adding that the recipe also calls for pecans, which are full of heart-healthy fats. Those aren't the only anti-inflammatory ingredients in the recipe, though: You'll also see cashews, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Oh, and we're nuts about the addition of cashew cream cheese.
Get the recipe: Carrot cake baked oats with cashew cream cheese
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