Step Up Your Smoothie Game

You’ve heard it before. Breakfast and post workout meals are two important nutrition components of maintaining a healthy weight and gaining lean muscle mass. Smoothies are exceptional fuel for both occasions; here’s why.

For breakfast, after hours of fasting while you’re asleep, liquid macronutrients will easily digest and quickly absorb in the body giving you a boost of energy to start your day.

Post workout, protein intake is key within 15-45 minutes to build and repair muscles. You can really only digest and absorb 20-40g of protein at meals, so more doesn’t necessarily mean you will be bigger or stronger. Studies show after a workout 20-30g is adequate for muscle growth and repair.

. : THE ULTMATE SMOOTHIE TEMPLATE : .

12oz Liquid

  • Almond Milk {1.5g protein / 45 calories} It’s an excellent source of vitamin E and is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Opt for unsweetened has no added sugar

  • Coconut Milk {0g protein / 70 calories} This plant based milk is high in unsaturated fat with 3.5g per serving in comparison to other milks. That’s greater than 20% of your total daily intake, so moderation is key. It’s typically fortified with calcium, vitamin D & B12.

  • Soymilk {10g protein / 120 calories} One serving provides 4g of heart healthy unsaturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends 25 grams of soy protein/day to a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease. Conclusions from 150+ studies show soy food consumption has no effect on circulating levels of testosterone or estrogen, sperm count, semen quality, breast size, or erectile function in men.

  • Skim or low-fat Cows Milk {12g protein / 130 calories} Naturally mineral rich with potassium, an essential electrolyte and calcium, essential for bone health. It contains 40:60 ratio of whey to casein proteins, offering both fast and slow absorption in the body.

  • Water {protein and calorie free} A great choice if your adding other protein sources or if your goal is ideally weight loss.

1c Greek Yogurt

  • Greek varieties can add 15- 20g protein to your smoothie compared to non-Greek alternatives with 7-9g. If adding protein powder take into consideration adjust any added protein powder accordingly

  • Unsweetened plain yogurt is best compared to sweetened flavored yogurts with added sugar; sweeten with fresh fruit, honey, maple syrup or flavor with cinnamon

  • Aim for low fat options as whole milk yogurts can add up to 16g of saturated fat per 7oz serving

1Tsp-2Tbsp Nut Butter

  • Read labels! Raw versions offer the most nutrition, as the nuts aren’t heated when processed. Unsalted versions are preferable if workout is low intensity, weather is mild and sweat loss is not high; salty sweaters or when weather is hot and sweat rate is increased are suggested to consume salted nut butters. Watch out for hydrogenated oils as they contain trans fats!

  • Peanut – {4g protein / 100 calories} This legume contains 4g of monounsaturated fats which are the easiest for the body to breakdown and use for sustainable energy

  • Almond – {2g protein / 100 calories} Contain 8g of monounsaturated fats

Handful of Spinach {or Baby Kale}

  • Excellent source of vitamin K, A and C and manganese

  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antioxidant, eye and bone health benefits

1 Banana

  • Rich in potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function, and can help prevent cramps if consumed prior to training

  • Contain 3g of fiber, which aids in digestion by helping carbohydrate breakdown into sugar

1c Fruit

{Berries, Pineapple, Mango, Peach, KiwI, Etc.}

  • High in fiber

  • Antioxidant, anticancer, brain, eye and heart health benefits

  • Frozen options add a creamy, thick texture compared to fresh

1tsp-1Tbsp Ground Flax or Chia Seed Gel

  • High in fiber, moderate in protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus

  • High in omega-3 essential fats which to help reduce inflammation

  • Rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from cell damage by free radicals

TOPPINGS// Add-Ins

  • Pollen pellets or honey. I use these golden gems to help reduce the risk of having severe spring allergies. Like a flu shot I take about 1Tbsp of them per day to help build immunity. They must be within 50 miles of your home.

  • Fresh fruit. Sometime, I save a few slices to enjoy on top such as a pear wedge, sliced banana, pomegranate seeds or fresh blueberries.

  • Nut Butter. Peanut, almond or cashew. You can also try SunButter an allergy free alternative made out of sunflower seeds.

  • Hemp seeds. Great for added plant based protein and linked to managing blood pressure and in tern reducing rick of heart disease. It also aids in digestion.

  • Low sugar, whole grain granolas or small chunks of your favorite bar for added texture.

  • Spices. Pumpkin spice, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric all have their benefits.

  • Coconut! This plant based fat is high in fiber that helps regulate blood sugar and control cholesterol, plus it keeps you fuller longer due to its fat content. 1tsp-1Tbsp should do, as it's high in saturated fat.

You can always create a smoothie bowl, like above, adding your favorite toppings. Here I have kiwi, banana, mango, matcha powder, and pollen pellets. The rest of the fruits I blended within the smoothie.

Get creative, have fun and enjoy! You can often catch me on Instagram making my own! Be sure to check out Thrive Market for my favorite ingredients like nut butters, seeds, matcha and more.

#almondmilk #coconutmilk #milk #protein #smoothie #yogurt #peanutbutter #almondbutter #spinach #flaxseed #chiapudding #breakfast #postworkout

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© 2017 The Educated Plate LLC by Kate Moran RD, LDN