Heartland Health Outreach is gearing up for the 2014 AIDS Run & Walk! Some team members have started meeting every other week for a running and walking group in anticipation of the big event on Sunday, September 14. We’re excited to begin training for the various events: 5k walk, 5k run, and 10k run.
But we realize that being in shape requires more than simply exercise. Certain foods help our bodies recover more quickly after a workout, keeping our up our strength and energy. When I ran cross country and track, nothing hit the spot during training season like a smoothie – especially in the summer. It turns out that my high school cravings were right on target. The HHO dietitians agree that smoothies are a fantastic complement to an exercise routine, provided you follow a few guidelines to keep it healthy.
The best smoothies include a little bit of protein, which we get from dairy or peanut butter, in addition to fruit and vegetables. Most smoothies use about ½ c of skim or soy milk, ½ c of light yogurt, and a handful of ice. On top of that base, adding 1-1 ½ cup of extra ingredients – like fruits or vegetables – usually creates the perfect consistency.
A few other tips and tricks from the Smoothie Queens –
- Keep bananas on hand in the freezer. Frozen bananas have a much longer shelf life than bananas on your counter, and they can double as ice cubes in a smoothie!
- Cut out extra sugar in your smoothie by using plain regular or Greek yogurt with a dollop of honey.
- Tossing chia or flax seeds into your smoothie mix is an easy way to increase protein and healthy fats.
- Chocolate milk can be a great compromise for picky eaters, especially with a banana and peanut butter smoothie. Chocolate milk includes more sugar, but it still provides a healthy dose of protein.
Here are some of the HHO Dietitians’ favorite smoothies. These smoothies all taste great and pack a decent nutritional punch. So bust out your blender – or even an electric mixer – and give these a try!
Katy’s Pick: Deliciously Simple Smoothie
8 oz low-fat or soy milk
1 frozen banana
1 Tbsp peanut butter
Mix it all together until smooth!
Erica’s Pick: Fruit Miracle Smoothie
1 cup plain greek yogurt
½ cup frozen strawberries
½ cup frozen peaches
2 T ground chia seeds
Blend all ingredients and you’re good to go!
Allison’s Pick: Banana Bread Breakfast Smoothie
ice cubes (optional: this is if you like a frosty smoothie!)
1 ½ c non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice)
4 Tbsp oatmeal
6 raw walnuts1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsb raisins or 2 dates
Large pinch of cinnamon
Cacao nibs, walnuts, or mini chocolate chips for topping
The night before, combine 1 c milk, oats, walnuts, vanilla, raisins, and cinnamon in glass. Stir to combine and store in refrigerator. In the morning, mix in the blender with frozen bananas and ice, if using. Blend until smooth, adding more milk as needed. Top with your favorite toppings.
Jiyoung’s Pick: Golden Wellness Smoothie
1 large orange, frozen*
1 cup almond milk, vanilla (homemade)
1 banana, fresh or frozen**
1/2 tsp maple or agave syrup (optional)
1 tsp turmeric powder***
a few pinches of cinnamon
a pinch of cayenne
Blend from low to high until smooth and frosty. A high-speed blender is needed to obtain a smooth blend with the fibrous orange. Adjust flavor: Add in more turmeric for a brighter yellow blend. Add in more banana, maple or agave syrup if you want things sweeter. If you do not have a high speed blender, you can substitute the whole orange with 1/3 cup orange juice and a handful or ice – but the texture will be thinned.
* You will need to freeze your orange ahead of time. I peel a bunch of very ripe and juicy oranges, quarter into large segments and freeze. Then I add them to citrus smoothies for some sweet frosty flavor – WITH the fiber – unlike straight up orange juice would provide.
** For a thicker, frostier shake-like blend use a frozen banana, for a thinner blend, use fresh. Just make sure it is very ripe! Smoothies need very ripe bananas, an under ripe banana can ruin a smoothie.
*** Build up to adding even more turmeric per smoothie! Start with 3/4-1 tsp if you are new to the flavor. Then try one full teaspoon, then eventually two if you’d like!