We imagine we’re with most runners when we say we’d like to shake the hand of whoever came up with the smoothie. Whether you drink it as a vehicle for nutritious ingredients before or after your workouts, or simply as a refreshing treat that tastes like it should be a lot worse for you than it is, the smoothie is a staple in the diet of many runners. But you don’t need to go to Smoothie King for your fix—most commercial smoothies are royally bad for you! Here are two of our favorite energy boosters you can make at home.
Megan: Cocoa-Banana-Buzz Smoothie
My go-to smoothie includes three of my favorite things: coffee, greek yogurt, and chocolate. I love the smell and taste of java, but that’s not the only reason it’s added to this smoothie. A recent Science Daily article reported that “athletes who ingested caffeine with carbohydrate had 66% more glycogen in their muscles four hours after finishing intense, glycogen-depleting exercise, compared to when they consumed carbohydrate alone.” More glycogen in your muscles means faster recovery and a better run the next day, so sign me up! I included greek yogurt due to its high protein content (approx. 18 grams in 6oz) and its live and active probiotic cultures. A banana is added for potassium (an essential electrolyte) and the chocolate contributes antioxidants and delicious flavor! Don’t let the February cold stop you from enjoying a post-run smoothie – crank up the heat and break out your blender!
1 banana, sliced and frozen
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
Splash of milk
2 tsp instant coffee (or 1 shot of espresso)
1 Tbs cocoa powder
1/2 Tbs agave nectar or honey
Add everything to the blender and mix until combined.
Matt: Strawberry-Banana Raw Vegan Smoothie
I can’t call myself a full-on vegan, but after I read Brendan Brazier’s Thrive last summer, I started incorporating raw, vegan meals into my diet. I’ve found smoothies to be a great intro to raw foods, since most of the ingredients in a standard smoothie are raw anyway, so it’s not too big a leap. This smoothie is my own adaptation of some of the smoothies in Thrive.
You’ll see that there are a few strange ingredients in here. I use hemp protein powder in all my smoothies because it’s from a whole food source and minimally processed (it should be green, not white). Maca is a root that, supposedly, Incan warriors used to eat before going into battle. Here it’s included mainly for aid in recovery from adrenal stress, which for me usually takes the form of a tough workout or too much coffee! Chlorella is an algae (don’t worry, it’s in powder form) that’s a true superfood—it’s loaded with chlorophyll, 19 amino acids, and vitamin B12, which is nearly impossible for vegans to get from whole foods. Bonus: human life can be sustained for long periods by eating nothing but chlorella! Of course, you can substitute any greens powder, or just leave it out altogether.
Ingredients (makes two smoothies):
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 Tbs ground flaxseed
2 Tbs hemp protein powder
1 Tbs hemp oil or flaxseed oil
1 Tbs raw agave nectar
4 ice cubes
1.5 cups water
1 tsp maca powder (optional)
1 tsp chlorella (optional)
Add everything to the blender and mix until combined. Use more or less water for desired consistency.