One of my favorite treats used to be the after-workout smoothie I would get at my health club. Smooth, cold, and delicious it’s the perfect recovery snack. But now, of course, most gyms are closed. I wouldn’t go even if they were open. I don’t know when I’ll feel safe enough to head to the gym again and share that sweaty, close space with other people.
But no need to give up my favorite smoothie routine. All I need is a blender and a few ingredients and I can make myself a smoothie just as tasty as any from the health club cafe.
What nutrients are needed after a run?
When you workout your muscles use up their glycogen stores and need to be replenished. And the proteins in your muscles get broken down and damaged. Your muscles will start to repair themselves at a quicker rate when you replenish your stores of missing nutrients.
According to Healthline, eating a post-workout snack that includes both carbohydrates and protein has the following benefits:
- Restores your glycogen
- Increases muscle growth
- Repairs muscle damage
- Quickens your recovery
Most experts agree your post-run recovery drink or snack should be a 3:1 or 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio.
Also, try to have your drink or snack within 30 minutes of finishing your run.
My favorite recovery drink is a creamy, mango smoothie made with yogurt, milk, and frozen mangoes. The best thing about it is that it’s versatile and can easily be made vegan if you like.
If you make this smoothie with the following ingredients you will end up with a drink that has about 12 grams of proteins and 45 grams of carbohydrates. So pretty close to the 4:1 carb to protein ratio that we’re looking for.
1 Cup 2% Milk*
1 Cup Frozen Mangoes**
1/2 Medium Banana
1 Cup Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt ***
1 Cup Baby Spinach Leaves (Optional)
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds (Optional)
Unless you have a very expensive blender that cuts ice easily, the easiest way I’ve found to do this is to add all the ingredients to your blender and let it sit awhile.
You can throw all your ingredients in, and then put the entire thing in your refrigerator. When you’re done with your workout, it should blend up nicely. If you’ve waited too long and the frozen fruit has melted a bit, you can always add a few ice cubes for that frosty texture.
With this method, you don’t need an expensive blender. By letting the fruit melt a little, you can easily have a well-blended smoothie with the cheapest of blenders.
- You don’t have to use cow’s milk. Anything will work here: oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk. It’s also delicious with orange juice.
- I buy big bags of frozen mango chunks so I can whip up this smoothie anytime. You can also use strawberries, mixed berries, frozen grapes, etc.
- If you want to go vegan, ditch the yogurt, and use silken tofu instead. It will still give your smoothie that lovely, creamy texture that you get from the yogurt. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla for flavor if you aren’t using vanilla yogurt.
Kid-friendly tip #1: If you’ve got leftovers, add it to popsicle molds and stick it in the freezer for a frozen fruit bar. My daughter prefers that to drinking the smoothie.
Although if you are making this for kids, be warned. The spinach, although completely undetectable by taste or texture, does turn the drink into a pale and unattractive green. Leave the spinach out if your children refuse to eat pale and unattractive green things.
Kid-friendly tip #2: You can, however, put the pale, unattractive green smoothie in a cup with a lid and a straw. And nobody will ever know the color of what they are drinking. Which means they will happily drink it, rather than inspecting it, and issuing their complaints.
I don’t know when I’ll be back in my health club. As much as I miss it, I can’t foresee wanting to go back there anytime soon. I hope this changes someday, but for now, it’s goodbye smoothies from my health club cafe. And hello smoothies from my own kitchen.