The weather is finally warming up in Sioux Falls (after what seems like the LONGEST WINTER EVER!), and it seems like we have almost skipped from winter to summer with the recent 80-something degree temperatures we've had lately!
Last weekends long run under the hot sun had me thinking about post-run recovery -- that hot sun can definitely zap your energy make you feel like a dry sponge. Sometimes, you may not even feel like eating anything, which is no good for jump-starting the recovery process!
Your three post-run goals nutrition goals should be:
1) Replenishing fluid and electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium...), especially after long runs and runs in a hot/humid environment.
2) Eating some carbohydrates to restore glycogen (your muscles' main fuel source!) Post-workout carbohydrates allow you to have a better workout tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, and so on. Don't skimp on your post-workout carbohydrates!
3) Adding in some protein to promote muscle repair and growth.
This is where the post-run smoothie comes in. A post-run smoothie is a great post-run recovery drink that can be made meal size OR snack size, can be thick enough to eat with a spoon in a bowl or thinned out with liquid to throw in a cup and sip from a straw on the go. Smoothies are super refreshing and cool, and also very hydrating because they're made with fruits and liquids that help you replenish fluids lost on the run. Because they're all blended up, they can also be a good option for people with a sensitive stomach and/or those who don't really feel like eating anything post-workout.
One issue with smoothies, especially meal-smoothies, can be that they aren't very satisfying. They can be made up of mostly carbohydrates (fruit/fruit juice) and maybe a splash of protein (milk), if you're lucky, but they're usually lacking in the protein and fats department.
Building a balanced smoothie that has a mix of carbohydrates from fruit/grains, protein and healthy fats can help you avoid that "I'm hungry one hour later" feeling and give you the benefits of muscle-building protein, as well as some anti-inflammatory, heart healthy fats. WIN!
Start with your milk of choice or liquid of choice in the bottom of your blender and add ingredients from the different groups to make a more satisfying smoothie!
Additional tips that will help you build a healthy smoothie:
--It can be easy to eat 6 servings of fruit (1 piece, or 1 cup of fruit) in one serving, so be mindful of that when you're making smoothies - you may want to stick to 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fruit (or 1 cup of berries, half a banana) to make room for the other ingredients.
--Choose whole fresh/frozen fruit instead of fruit juice to get more satisfying fiber and nutrients from your smoothie.
--15-25 grams of protein in your smoothie may help you build and repair muscle post-workout. This looks like: 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese, or typically 1 scoop of protein powder. Almond milk does not contain very much protein (1 gram!), so you may need to find protein elsewhere.
--Choose a couple tablespoons of healthy fats or half an avocado. Nut butters and avocados typically help make the smoothie thicker and creamier!
--You probably won't taste a couple big handfuls of spinach, but kale is a different story - a little goes along way, as it is more bitter and has a "grassier" taste for many people!
--For a thicker smoothie bowl, add less liquids and pour it in a bowl! Be mindful of toppings - a couple tablespoons of granola, extra seeds and nuts, and dried fruit can add up to a smoothie that is more than a meal-sized amount of calories.
Enjoy this handful of smoothie and smoothie bowl recipes to get you started!
Tart-cherry juice smoothie I already mentioned on the blog, but is a simple, go-too smoothie!
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 - 1 cup milk of choice (depending on how thick you like your smoothie)
2 Tbsp tart cherry juice concentrate (anti-inflammatory!)
1 cup frozen berries (blueberries) or frozen banana
1-2 Tbsp ground flax seeds or chia seeds
Optional: Handful of spinach
Instructions: BLEND. Put it in a glass and enjoy!
This banana blast smoothie bowl from Nutrition Stripped has zucchini in it, which sounds like a great way to use up zucchini if you have a garden!
2 frozen bananas
1 cup chopped and frozen zucchini
1 scoop of your favorite vanilla plant-based protein powder (or use grass fed whey)
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon
Optional garnishes: sliced bananas, strawberries, unsweetened coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips, mint, bee pollen
Directions: In a high-speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend until creamy and smooth. Add ice if desired. Garnish with fresh fruit, coconut, fresh mint, or any other topping you like. Enjoy immediately.
Minimalist Baker's Go-To Berry Smoothie Bowl sounds refreshing:
1 heaping cup (160 g) organic frozen mixed berries
1 (100 g) small ripe banana, sliced and frozen
2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) light coconut or almond milk, plus more as needed
optional: 1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder of choice*
Add frozen berries and banana to a blender and blend on low until small bits remain - see photo.
Add a bit of coconut or almond milk and protein powder (optional), and blend on low again, scraping down sides as needed, until the mixture reaches a soft serve consistency (see photo).
Scoop into 1-2 serving bowls and top with desired toppings (optional). I prefer chia seeds, hemp seeds, and coconut, but strawberries, granola, and a nut or seed butter would be great here, too!
Best when fresh, though leftovers keep in the freezer for 1-2 weeks. Let thaw before enjoying.
Ambitious Kitchen's Mocha Banana Protein Smoothie bowl with COFFEE (important for after early runs...)
1 large frozen banana
1/2 cup Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk, plus more if necessary
1 scoop your favorite protein powder (I recommend plain, vanilla or chocolate)
1 packet instant coffee, if desired
1 cup spinach (if you want a superfood boost)
A few ice cubes
Unsweetened Coconut flakes
Add all ingredients except desired toppings to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If necessary, add more almond milk and/or ice to reach the desired consistency. The smoothie should be fairly thick so that you can eat it with a spoon.
Pour into a bowl and top with desired toppings such as chia and granola. Serves 1.
Are you a smoothie-maker?
What is your go-to recipe?