Nutritional smoothies are an easy and delicious way to get fast fuel after a hard workout.
Now that I’m in the throes of marathon training season and I’m spending a lot more time at the gym, I’ve been finding I need a quick way to get as much nutrition as possible. Nutritional smoothies are a great option for that.
Nutritional Smoothies are Great for Post-Run Recovery
Why are smoothies good sources of fuel?
Because you can pretty much put anything — and everything — in them. Dark leafy greens? Check. Avocado? Yes. Bananas? Of course. Berries? No brainer!
Let’s use leafy greens as an example. Greens such as kale provide vitamin B6, fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, magnesium, etc, etc, etc. Leafy greens are some of the world’s healthiest foods. You may struggle with eating two to three salads per day even if it’s what your body needs. Pop a cup of kale in a smoothie and voila — drinkable nutritional powerhouse.
You can do this with pretty much any amazing food out there. Blueberries (high in antioxidants), cherries (great for staving off or lessening inflammation), and more. And the more high-powered your blender, the easier it will be to toss in things like almonds and various seeds (if that’s your thing).
How can nutritional smoothies be optimized for recovery after a tough workout?
Simple. Make sure your smoothie has a 3:1 ratio of carbs to proteins. For those of us that are mathematically challenged (raises hand), that’s 30-40 grams of carbs and 10-15 grams of protein. Think: Greek yogurt. If you’re not a yogurt fan, protein powders of all varieties are widely available and in all price-points. And you don’t have to break the bank for a quality protein powder. Right now I’m loving Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein powder but Amazon has a plethora to choose from.
In addition to the carbs and proteins, consider what else you’re adding. If it’s a food with little to no nutritional value (i.e. honey) consider dialing it back just a little bit. Opt for nutritionally-dense foods instead like berries, cherries, and citrus fruits.
Want to step it up a notch? Add an electrolyte to your smoothie. I use SOS Rehydrate but have also used many others. Not only does it add a bit of flavor, it helps quench my thirst after a tough workout.
What not to put in a smoothie?
As I just mentioned, items that offer little to no nutritional value should not be invited to your smoothie-party. Unless you’re making a dessert smoothie, honey and maple syrup aren’t really necessary as sweeteners. There are tons of options to add sweetness and flavor to your smoothie. Choose fruits, yogurts, protein powders, and juices. Be careful to watch the sugar content if you opt to use juice, though. If you haven’t heard, sugar’s a doozy.
To summarize, using whole fruits and veggies, yogurts, and no-added sugar juices, plus a
dash scoop of protein powder will transform your smoothie into a nutritional powerhouse and keep you on track to fitness greatness.
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Let’s talk veggies — pick one: kale or spinach?
Yogurt: Greek or regular?