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11 Must-Have Ingredients for Your Post-Workout Smoothie

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Smoothies are the perfect post-workout snack, providing your hard-worked muscles with optimal nutrition as well as a source of much-needed refreshment. However, what you put in your smoothie makes all the difference between a power-packed punch and a sugar- and calorie-laden sweet treat that undermines your fitness efforts. With the proper ingredients, smoothies can be the perfect post-workout meal to jumpstart muscle recovery by providing carbohydrates, protein, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and electrolytes, all in one, tasty treat.

11. The Importance of a Carbohydrate-Protein Ratio

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One of the key things to keep in mind when creating your own post-workout shake is to balance out the carbohydrate-protein ratio. The fastest muscle recovery times come from an ideal carb-protein ratio of 4:1, respectively, ingested about 30 minutes to one hour maximum following an intense workout. Carbohydrates will help to replenish your glycogen stores, while protein will help rebuild muscle tissue and improve hydration. Make sure to have the following 10 ingredients on hand to whip up the best post-workout smoothie possible!

10. Low-Fat White or Chocolate Milk

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Milk on its own is actually a pretty great post-workout drink, as it offers 8 grams of protein per cup. It’s also got the perfect carb-to-protein ratio, which helps lead to optimal recovery following a vigorous workout. Both white or chocolate milk are fantastic ingredients for your post-workout smoothie, so make sure to keep this ingredient on hand in your fridge. It makes for a great base for the perfect smoothie.

9. Frozen or Fresh Fruit

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Not only does fruit add great flavor, it also helps to pack your smoothie with fast-acting carbohydrates to kick-start your muscles’ recovery. Use fruit like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, or a mix of everything to infuse major flavor into your shake and give it a nice color. In addition to the carb infusion, fruit like berries can add much-needed antioxidants, and fruits such as apples or pears add fiber as well.

8. Cottage Cheese

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This healthy ingredient helps even out the protein-carb balance, all with a low number of calories. In fact, a half cup of cottage cheese only has 90 calories, yet boasts a whopping 16 grams of protein! Your muscles will thank you for it. Half a cup will also help provide a rich, creamy, appetite-satisfying texture to your post-workout smoothie. Go for the low-fat variety since the sweetness from the fruit will be enough to add enough flavor.

Steve is a fitness guru who is passionate about helping people lead healthier lives. Find Steve on LinkedIn!

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