You’ve worked hard in the gym. You’ve ran your heart out. You’ve pumped iron sky high. Now it’s time to make the best post-workout smoothie!
It’s time to help yourself to the best post-workout smoothie when you get home. Not only do you deserve it, but your body needs the nutrition.
After all, since your body has worked so hard, your food should work hard as well because it needs to support that body by giving it all that it needs and more after that gym workout.
Here are nine tricks to optimize your post-workout smoothie, without a sweat.
#1 Pack In The Greens
Hopefully, everyone knows about the amazing benefits of eating lots of green vegetables. Unfortunately, it can be hard and inconvenient for most people to cram in lots of greens on a daily basis.
Fortunately, there is a cheat. That cheat is to drink your greens!
Many people have found drinking green leafy vegetables in a smoothie to be the easiest and preferred way to boost your vegetable intake. Greens are just a goldmine of powerful nutrients that come within a low-calorie package.
They are also recognized as the cheapest way to obtain so many important nutrients. If you are already making fruit based post-workout smoothies, that is great. But you are challenged today to add an extra kick to that fruit smoothie by packing in as much green leafy vegetables as you can into your blender first, before adding your usual ingredients.
Most of the times, you won’t taste the vegetables very much and you’ll mostly taste the fruit that you add, which brings us to our second trick.
#2 Pop In Some Frozen Fruit
There is so much to love about fruit in the frozen form.
Many people believe that fresh is always better, but how fresh are the fruits you see in the produce section at a grocery store?
Fresh produce is often harvested way before ripeness, then packaged, handled and shipped hundreds of miles from its harvest to the grocery store. All this processing and travel time in various temperatures and conditions takes a toll on the levels of nutrients retained in the crop.
With frozen fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, they are harvested at the peak of ripeness and quickly frozen soon after, locking all of the nutrients inside. If you look at it this way, then the frozen fruit could be considered fresher and of equal, or better, nutrient quality compared to the fresh form you find in the grocery store.
The other obvious reason to love frozen fruit is of course, the convenience and accessibility. Not only that, frozen fruit also makes certain exotic, seasonal and hard to find fruits available in many places around the world.
For example, fresh acai berries are extremely difficult or even impossible to find in the United States.
#3 Throw In Some Seeds
Seeds are an incredibly easy and smart thing to add to smoothies. They provide your diet with added fiber, vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats to keep your heart healthy.
Seeds also serve as a great source of protein and fat. If you’re someone who stays away from isolated protein powder products for any reason, then you should definitely add seeds to your post-workout smoothie. It could also come in handy if you are needing a bit of extra protein in your regular diet. Many scientific studies show that various types of nuts and seeds can prevent weight gain.
Consuming seeds can also help prevent heart disease as it lowers the accumulation of LDL, or bad cholesterol, and raises HDL, also commonly referred to as the good cholesterol. Flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are a few of the most common ones that you definitely want to try. Flax seeds and chia seeds are especially easy to blend if you bought them already ground up. They also have practically no flavor so you will not notice much of a difference in your smoothie.
The only thing that you are almost certain to notice is that your smoothie should be thicker and smoother, especially with chia seeds as they produce a gel-like coating around them when added to liquid. This creates a more consistent texture that should only to serve to enhance the overall goodness of your smoothie.
#4 Pour In The Coconut Water
Where do you even begin when going over the benefits of coconut water?
To begin with, it is full of electrolytes and enzymes. It’s also hydrating, has a diuretic effect and it’s even antibacterial and anti-fungal.
Those are just to name a few of the possible benefits of drinking coconut water. If you are like some people, you may not enjoy the taste of drinking plain coconut water. That is understandable as it does have a unique flavor and you might not have acquired the taste for it yet.
What do you do if you still want to gain the health benefits of drinking coconut water, but you are still not used to the taste of it?
You should consider making smoothies with it. Liquids are an obvious component to any smoothie.
#5 Scoop In Some Oats
We’ve all had the traditional breakfast food, oatmeal porridge, at some point in our lives. If you like it, then you probably have it for breakfast most days. If you don’t particularly enjoy it, then you probably only had it as a kid growing up only to say goodbye to it later on in life.
There is a reason that oats are touted as a health food. First of all, oats have plenty of fiber. One cup of dry oats has over 8 grams of fiber. Secondly, oats also have cholesterol-lowering properties. Additionally, oats contain many minerals like selenium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. There have also been studies that have suggested the consumption of oats may reduce heart disease risk, as well as
There have also been studies that have suggested the consumption of oats may reduce heart disease risk, as well as colorectal cancer risk. Whatever your relationship with oatmeal is, there is a new way of consuming oats: Add them to your smoothie.
There are plenty of combinations and ideas that you can come up with that will make an awesome oat smoothie. Apple cinnamon, pumpkin spice or just plain banana and vanilla. Oats are also great for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance as they technically do not contain gluten. However, if you do have celiac disease, it’s best to still pay attention and be careful when eating oats as, in rare cases, the crop from wheat and barley fields may have contaminated the oat crops with gluten.
#6 Use Silken Tofu For Protein
For vegans who are looking to add more protein to their diet without using processed vegan protein powders, don’t sweat, there is hope yet.
Meet your new friend, tofu.
Tofu comes in an endless amount of types and forms, but since we’re talking about smoothies here, the best type to use is silken tofu. Silken tofu is tofu that comes in the softest consistency. This is the firmness of tofu that will fall apart in your hand if you tried to pick up a block from its package. One serving of silken tofu, which is a quarter of a package, provides 4 grams of protein.
If that is not enough, you can always up the firmness and try a soft or medium firm block of tofu, which has even more, protein as it is more condensed. There are just so many things to do with tofu. The more you use it, the more likely you are to discover the incredible versatility of tofu in both the drinks and foods you make.
If that is not enough, you can always up the firmness and try a soft or medium firm block of tofu, which has even more, protein as it is more condensed.
There are just so many things to do with tofu.
The more you use it, the more likely you are to discover the incredible versatility of tofu in both the drinks and foods you make.
#7 Spoon In Some Wheat Germ
Here’s a question that has stumped more than a few people: What is wheat germ?
It is the part of the seed that germinates and grows into wheat grass in the fields, also known as wheat kernel or wheat berry. Wheat germ is probably more recognizable in tall glass jars as a healthy breakfast staple in your pantry. It is high in levels of nutrients and a great source of folic acid and vitamin E. In fact, because it is highly nutritious, wheat germ is typically considered more of a nutritional supplement than a food item.
Some potential benefits that come from consuming wheat germ include that it could help in preventing blood clots, aiding weight loss, keeping skin and hair healthy and even aid in cleansing the digestive system. To incorporate this healthy ingredient into a post-workout smoothie is more than easy.
All you have to do is drop about 2 tablespoons of wheat germ into the blender. Then, simply blend all your smoothie ingredients until smooth. That is really it. And, with all the health benefits that come from consuming wheat germ, it’s really a no-brainer to start adding wheat germ to the mix whenever the time comes to make another one of your delicious smoothies.
#8 Don’t Forget Nut Butters
We all remember peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to be a vital part of our childhoods. Today, new types of nut butters are stealing the spotlight. Peanut butter is still the main player of course, but new nut butters are generating lots of interest.
Nut butters are a perfect way to add plant-based protein and fats into a smoothie. Just one serving of peanut butter (2 tablespoons) contains 8 whole grams of protein!
With so many options to try like almond butter, sunflower butter, macadamia nut butter, hazelnut and cashew butter, it’s unlikely that you will get bored soon. A simple smoothie recipe that you probably have not tried yet is to blend up a banana, a cup of vanilla almond milk, yogurt of your choice and a couple tablespoons of cashew butter.
You will have a wonderful almond-cashew-banana-protein experience in only minutes. One important piece of advice when you’re choosing the type of nut butter to buy is to read the ingredient label and scan for the word hydrogenated. If you see a nut butter product that was made with hydrogenated oils, you’ll want to pass and choose a different one.
Hydrogenation is a process that keeps the oil from separating from the butter inside the fat. While this makes the product look nicer and there’s no need to stir before use, hydrogenation results in trans fats which we all want to avoid.
So look for old fashioned and natural style nut butters with minimal amounts of ingredients on the label.
#9 Spice It Up
Do you like the smell of delicious pumpkin pie?
Even if the holidays are not yet near us, it’s not too early to start your own little holiday party. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and pumpkin spice are just so enticing and easy to add to any smoothie.
Cinnamon and nutmeg goes well with almost anything, especially banana smoothies. Pumpkin spice, of course, goes well with canned pumpkin and it’s a great idea to add to a smoothie. Spices provide you with antioxidants that fight cancer-causing free radicals.
Researchers have also identified anti-inflammatory properties in spices. Another possible effect that spices have is boosting the body’s metabolism and thus aiding in weight loss.
All this makes spices a healthy and fun ingredient to experiment with in your smoothies.
By Roxxi Li