There has been some buzz lately about how milk is an ideal post-workout snack. Take it one step further and put it on ice with peanut butter or fruit, and it’s got everything you need to refresh and replenish you after a hard workout.
The milk, with or without the rest of the smoothie, has the carbs and protein you need. Protein for muscle repair is especially important after resistance training or interval sessions. Add a banana or other fruit for potassium and more sugar and you’re really cooking! Note that surprisingly, almond milk has only 1 gram of protein per cup, as there is significant water content. Plain Greek yogurt, on the other hand, will counter-balance with 20 grams of protein per cup, more or less.
Keep some plain yogurt, low fat milk of any variety (dairy, soy, almond, hemp) and frozen fruit on hand and you will be able to whip up a quick, filling, nutritious breakfast, lunch or after-workout snack on a moment’s notice. Frozen fruit generally retains the nutrients and fiber that were present when the fruit was fresh and saves you the trouble of washing and cutting fruit when you want a quick snack.
There’s plenty of room for creativity in mixing up a smoothie. It’s easy to overdo the calories and sugar though. Fructose is still sugar, even though it’s contained in healthy foods. So for the non-fruit ingredients, try to minimize juices and maximize plain yogurt and lowfat milks.
Also, if you have more bananas than you can eat, when they are perfectly ripe (not over-ripe), cut them into thick slices (1/2 – 1 inch thick) and freeze. This is great for a quick refreshing snack or to make the best smoothies. If you use them as a frozen snack though, eat them before they defrost – they just get mushy and are not very appetizing! You can add over-ripe bananas directly for extra-sweet smoothies — no freezing necessary.
Chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie
This is the BEST post-workout snack ever! What can be bad about peanut butter and chocolate? It’s like drinking a frozen Reese’s peanut butter cup and being told that it’s good for you!
1 cup low-fat chocolate milk (dairy, almond, soy or other variety)
1 banana (as frozen slices or fresh)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
2 Tbsp (or more) natural peanut butter
3 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in the blender and set on ice crush. When it sounds like the cubes are in small pieces, you can change to purée.
Your Basic Smoothie
1 cup low fat dairy, soy, almond or hemp milk
1/2 cup plain or vanilla fat-free yogurt
1 cup mixed fruit – fresh or frozen – mixed berries, cherries, peaches, mango
3 ice cubes
If using plain yogurt, just a teaspoon or so of sugar may be added if needed, or use chocolate milk instead of plain. Cherries with chocolate milk is particularly good.
For any fellow ginger lovers, try this one we posted last year for blueberry ginger smoothies
Once you get used to pouring random ingredients together, you’ll love the freedom. Some other combinations to experiment with are:
Watermelon, lime and mint or rosemary
Strawberry, cantaloupe and vanilla extract
Send us your own favorites!