These honey roasted turmeric pepitas are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy and are loaded with the essential nutrients every endurance athlete needs but never gets enough of. Enjoy them on top of salads, soups, or by the handful when you’re on the go!
Nuts and seeds are an excellent snack to nosh on thanks to their high contents of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. Omega-3 is an “essential” fatty acid, meaning your body requires it for good health but isn’t capable of producing it on its own. Our only choice is to ingest it- by consuming lots of foods with Omega 3’s like these honey roasted turmeric pepitas!
In addition to being “essential” for your health, consuming plenty of omega 3 (also known as polyunsaturated fatty acid) is essential to the performance of endurance athletes. Here’s why:
For starters, the body has a limited ability to store carbs. The average person can deplete their body’s carb reserves within two hours of moderate exercise. If you’re training for an Ironman, two hours is nothing! Luckily, your body has a much greater capacity to store fats. These fat stores, which are often stored in your muscles and liver, can contain over 50 times more energy compared carbohydrates.
Fat tends to be the predominant choice of fuel during lower intensity workouts. When you ramp up the intensity, carbohydrates become, and remain, you body’s main fuel source until you finish your workout. Of course, the level of intensity and heart rate in which this switch happens is different for everyone. The best way to determine this is to complete a lactate threshold or VO2 max test. If you’re wondering why your coach spends SO much time telling you to stick to your nutrition plan and keep your heart rate low the first half of your race, this is precisely why.
The main ingredient in this snack mix, pepitas (AKA pumpkin seeds), are guaranteed to pull you out of any nut-rut you may find yourself stuck in.
Before you get to cooking, there are two things you need to know:
1. You need more pepitas in your life.
Pepitas are the richest natural source of magnesium. Why does this matter? Well, magnesium is a critical but often overlooked electrolyte. If your calves never fail cramp a few miles in or the bottom of your foot ALWAYS cramps while swimming, despite the gallons of electrolytes you’re consuming, chances are you’re not getting enough magnesium.
Magnesium imbalances are caused by drinking too much caffeine, alcohol, and surprisingly enough, too much water. That’s right- it is possible to drink so much water (especially the day before a big race) that you flush out all of your electrolytes! (This is why you should always alternate between H2O and an electrolyte drink.) Because sweat loss, as well as high intensity and endurance exercises also deplete magnesium levels, its important to incorporate magnesium into your everyday diet. What better way to start than with these honey roasted turmeric pepitas!
2. You can never have too much turmeric.
Well, I’m sure its possible to consume too much turmeric (disclosure: I’m not a doctor) but as far as I’m concerned you can never cook with too much turmeric! I love adding this inflammation fighting powerhouse to just about everything I cook. Its benefits include helping the body to fight inflammation and acting as an antioxidant. As an endurance athlete I’ll take all of the help fighting fatigue and sickness I can get!
I know you’re dying to make these, so I’ll keep the remaining commentary brief.
Please note that the recipe calls for a “heaping teaspoon” of both turmeric and curry powder. If you’re not sure what a “heaping teaspoon” is, look at the picture above. This is my way of saying a rounded teaspoon with lots of spices- don’t measure exactly. Add a little extra. I believe this is a trait I inherited from my Granny!
I personally love making a big batch of these on Sunday night to enjoy throughout the week… assuming they last that long! I’m a Trader Joe’s die hard and have found that one bag of their raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds will get me through about two batches of these bad boys. If you haven’t checked out Trader Joe’s bulk nut aisle, stop what you’re doing and do it now! You’ll never buy bulk nuts and sees anywhere else ever again.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do! Comment below and let me know!
- • 1 TBS coconut oil
- • 1 heaping tsp turmeric
- • 1 heaping tsp curry powder
- • 2 TBS raw honey
- • 1/2 tsp sea salt
- • 2 cups raw, unsalted, shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- • 1 cup raw, unsalted walnut halves and pieces
- • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper
- • Heat the coconut oil in the microwave (I use a large glass measuring bowl) until coconut oil begins to boil. Remove from microwave, quickly add turmeric and curry powder and stir until fragrant (reheat contents for 15 - 20 seconds in microwave if needed). Stir in honey and salt until contents are well combined.
- • Place pepitas and walnuts in a large bowl. Pour coconut oil mixture over nuts and fold mixture until nuts are fully coated.
- • In a thin layer, spread coated pepitas and walnuts on parchment lined baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.
- Remove nuts from oven and set aside to cool completely in a single layer (at least 15 minutes.) When cooled, break apart any clusters and transfer to a glass jar to store and enjoy!
- • For best results, use parchment paper to line your cookie sheet.
- • Coat your tablespoon measuring cup with coconut oil before measuring honey. This will allow the honey to slide right out and make cleanup easier.
- • Make sure nuts are spread in a thin layer across your cookie sheet before putting it in the oven. Some overlap is okay, but try to spread out and avoid thick clumps.
- • Pepitas and walnuts will look moist right out of the oven but will crisp when cooled.