Reward Yourself: Post-Workout Vanilla Blueberry Smoothie
Author: Amanda Carney
As a health coach, I am constantly receiving questions about what to eat after a workout. People want to know what the best food combination is, how soon after a workout they should eat, and what the serving size should look like. And although there are many different perspectives on this, in my opinion, these differing approaches have more to do with the individual – what the end goal of working out is and the uniqueness of their body.
So if everyone is different, is there a general consensus on how to support the body after a workout? Yes, I believe that there is.
A combination of protein and carbohydrates have been shown to be essential after working out, and although the exact combination might vary from person to person (leaving it up to you to choose what makes you feel best), feeding your body from these 2 food groups will ensure that your muscles are being supported and that your body is being replenished.
This “Vanilla Blueberry Fuel” smoothie is one of my favorite “post-workout snacks” as it contains both the good quality protein and the essential carbohydrates that your body needs after a workout or game. With a balanced combination of each, this smoothie is a great option for anyone who is interested in making the most out of their exercise routine. It will leave you feeling satiated, nourished and energized!
Vanilla Blueberry Fuel
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1-2 scoops vanilla grass-fed whey protein powder (with no added sugars!)
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Place all ingredients in your blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!
So what makes this smoothie a wonderful post-workout choice? Let’s discuss:
Unsweetened almond milk (or any other unsweetened nut milk) is a great choice for the liquid in a smoothie as it contains protein, nutrients, and fiber, and adds creaminess to the texture of the smoothie.
Grass-fed whey protein powder supplies the body with a clean source of protein that is readily absorbed, helping to build lean muscle mass and supporting the recovery and healing processes of the body. There are many, MANY not-so-great protein powders out there, so make sure to read labels and ingredients carefully. Whey protein from grass-fed cows ensures that the whey being used is coming from cows that graze on pesticide and chemical free grass pastures, are not fed any grain, and are not subjected to growth hormones, antibiotics, or other toxins.
Not crazy about a whey protein powder? There are plenty of other vegan protein powders available, but again, make sure you are reading labels and ingredient lists, ensuring that you are choosing a brand free of chemicals, added sugars, preservatives and other toxic ingredients.
And if you want to skip the protein powder all together, simply include an alternative such as hemp seeds, almond butter, additional nuts and seeds, or spirulina.
Loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and carbohydrates, and offering a great flavor, blueberries significantly increase the nutrient value of this smoothie without all the nasty sugars and artificial ingredients. As an added bonus, their anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce inflammation in the body, lessening the recovery time you might need after a long run or exercise class.
½ cup of blueberries has about 10 grams of carbohydrates, so if you’re feeling like you might want to increase your carb intake after a workout, feel free to double up on the berries.
Unrefined coconut oil has been getting a lot of attention recently, and it’s not undeserved! This healthy fat has been shown to nourish and heal the body in many ways, supporting brain function, skin health, good digestion and more! Including a healthy fat in this smoothie allows your body to more easily absorb fat-soluble vitamins and helps you feel more satiated after enjoying this drink.
Cinnamon adds a nice flavor and helps to balance blood sugar in the body, which can serve as added support after a workout.