Smoothies are the perfect go-to for a post-workout recovery drink. As well as being hydrating, they can be packed with nutrients to help your body recover and get the maximum benefit from a hard sweat-session.
So, what are the best plant foods to add to your post-workout smoothie to naturally get the protein and nutrients you need, without the powders?
Protein is important for muscle growth, tissue repair and recovery after exercise. A glass of soy milk can give you 8.5g of protein and makes the perfect smoothie base. After exercising you should be aiming to get 20-25 g of protein. Soy milk is also a great post-workout option as it contains all nine essential amino acids (the protein building blocks that our bodies cannot make ourselves). Fortified soy milks, like So Good, also contain calcium for muscle function and vitamin B12 to help boost flagging energy levels as part of a balanced diet.
As well as packing a real flavour punch, these little morsels of goodness are low in kilojoules and bursting with antioxidants that help protect our bodies from free radical damage.
To bump up the protein levels further (and for creaminess) consider adding a tablespoon of nut butter. Just one tablespoon (20g) of peanut butter gives you around 6g of protein, as well as providing niacin to reduce tiredness and magnesium. Magnesium is the “it” nutrient of the moment and it’s well deserving of its time in the spotlight. Magnesium helps the body build proteins, balances electrolytes and is vital for muscle function to keep you moving. Muscle cramps are a sign of not having enough magnesium, which you sweat out during exercise along with potassium and sodium.
Bananas contain low GI carbohydrates for lasting energy as well as potassium, which helps with muscle function and vitamin B6 which helps to reduce fatigue.
Whole grain cereals such as rolled oats and wholegrain breakfast biscuits make a great addition to a smoothie as they contain good quality carbohydrates, which your body needs after exercising to replenish fuel stores and recover faster. The body is most effective at replacing carbohydrates and promoting muscle repair and growth in the first 60-90 minutes after exercise – the perfect time for a post-workout smoothie. Wholegrains also contain nutrients such as iron, which help to support the immune system.
For smoothie inspiration that will have you drooling check out these recipes.