Home-made smoothies are a great way to get a lot of nutrients at once because you’re blending more whole foods than you would normally eat in one sitting. These healthy drinks come in all flavours and nutritional values, and are usually packed with protein, carbs and fibre, meaning increased energy for athletes.
Blended foods are faster to digest because the structure of the food is already broken down, which means nutrients reach your bloodstream faster. Taking a protein-rich smoothie can be especially beneficial right after training, when muscles repair and rebuild, a process known as anabolic window.
However, it’s important to note that the gains you’ll see from consuming protein right after workout as opposed to a couple of hours afterwards are on the same scale.
Having full control over what goes into your smoothie is not only cost-effective but also the healthier option. It means unnecessary sweeteners can be skipped and recipes can follow personal taste whilst still being healthy.
Putting a blender into good use will ensure your smoothies have the optimal balance of nutrients and provide you with exactly what you need according to your training and fitness level.
Try these six healthy smoothies to aid your recovery and muscle growth.
1. Healthy Smoothie Recipes – BANANA, BEETROOT, RASPBERRIES AND DATES
This breakfast smoothie is a nutritious way to start the day or drink post-workout. Bananas are a great source of easy-to-digest sugar and natural electrolytes and are the non-processed alternative to bars or gels, which serve the same purpose.
They’re a brilliant recovery food for a good reason: bananas contain potassium, which your body needs to regulate fluids and prevent muscle cramps and spasms. Potassium is also sweated out during training, and it’s important to replenish it afterwards.
Beetroot is rich in nitric oxide, a key molecule that lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health, boosting your exercise performance. Raspberries are high in nutrients and an excellent source of vitamin C.
To add sweetness to this smoothie, get a couple of dates in. This fruit has an excellent nutrition profile and many health benefits such as improved digestion and reduced risk of disease.
Top this smoothie with milk – rich in calcium, protein and healthy fats – or, if you’d rather avoid dairy, plant-based milks like almond, soy or oat milk.
The Venturist V1200 blender lets you personalize each smoothie to your specific taste and needs.
2. AVOCADO, KALE AND MANGO
The combination of vitamin packed kale with tropical mango is an unusually delicious one. Kale is packed with vitamins A, K, C and B6, as well as calcium, potassium and antioxidants. According to healthline, kale is “among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.”
This green vegetable is incredibly high in nutrients and low in carbs, making it an incredibly nutrient-dense food. Kale is also a great source of calcium and magnesium, both substances you lose through sweat and which are essential for optimal muscle function.
Mangos are a great source of protein and fibre and, even though they’re relatively high in carbs, are exactly what you need post-workout. Your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, so consuming a mix of carbs and protein after your workout helps replenish them while also stimulating protein synthesis (the creation of new muscle).
Add Greek yogurt to increase the protein volume in this healthy smoothie. Almond milk and avocado add richness and a creamy consistency – ultimately, taste also matters!
Avocados are packed with potassium and healthy fats (heart-healthy monounsaturated fat) to keep you full. Just like kale, avocados are a great nutrient-dense food choice and their consumption helps support cardiovascular health.
They also contain slightly more potassium than bananas.
3. GREEN GINGER SMOOTHIE
Green smoothies have been regarded as “life-changing” if added to your diet. Results of a documentary called Powered by Green Smoothies showed that ultrarunners and CrossFit athletes who stuck to their training regime and added green smoothies to their daily diet experienced quicker recovery and significantly less soreness.
Rich in iron, spinach is a key ingredient of the green smoothie. Its antioxidants and high levels of vitamins B and C aid exercise performance. Vitamin C specifically prevents the destruction of the red blood cell membrane during exercise, research has found.
Depending on your taste, add either broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale, all of which have high concentrations of antioxidants, fibre and vitamins.
Cashew nuts combine protein and healthy fats naturally. They are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and their high antioxidant content may be key to their cardio-protective benefits, research suggests.
Pineapple will sweeten this smoothie and provide it with important vitamins and minerals. Enzymes found in pineapple can fight inflammation and disease and ease digestion. Bromelain, found in the fruit, may reduce the time it takes to recover from exercise.
To increase the protein volume of this healthy smoothie, add hemp seeds into the blender. Besides offering protein, these are packed with omega-3s, omega-6s fatty acids and magnesium.
Top with coconut water, fresh lemon juice and fresh ginger.
Coconut water is a great way to rehydrate after sport as its known for its concentration of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals.
Smoothies that rely heavily on veggies over fruit have a lower concentration of sugar and increased fibre content.
Completely personalize this green smoothie with the Certified Reconditioned Venturist blender which connects to the Perfect Blend app, which is full of recipes, personally built and customisable meal plans and even a shopping list, and also knows the size of the container being used.
4. Healthy Smoothie Recipes – TURMERIC, BANANA, GINGER AND HONEY
The combination of these ingredients makes for the perfect anti-inflammatory smoothie. A great drink to have following a long run, an intense yoga session or a hard WOD, this smoothie will get your muscles into recovery mode.
We’ve mentioned the benefits of eating bananas already, and turmeric is great for fighting inflammation. Curcumin, one of the compounds with medicinal properties found in turmeric, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
Ground ginger is among the healthiest spices around. It has been shown to reduce exercise-induced muscle pain.
Pears can improve the smoothie’s creamy consistency and are rich in fibre and vitamin C. Add unsweetened almond milk, flax seeds, and cinnamon for taste and a higher nutritional value.
The key ingredient of this smoothie is honey, which is high in fat and protein to keep you from feeling hungry. This sweet ingredient can help lower blood pressure, and researchers believe that honey’s healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects as well as its ability to nourish surrounding tissue.
This recipe was found in the Vitamix Perfect Blend app, which we customized to use honey instead of bee pollen. The Reconditioned Perfect Blend Smart Scale and interactive recipe app make your life in the kitchen easier by walking you step-by-step through recipes, helping you meal plan and stick to nutritional goals, preparing shopping lists, and more.
You can ensure to always get the perfect measures of different ingredients for your unique smoothie with the Smart Scale or just make counting macros easier.
5. CHOCOLATE MILK SMOOTHIE
While not the healthiest option on this list, drinking a chocolate smoothie post workout can be incredibly beneficial. A recent review of 12 studies concluded that chocolate milk “provides either similar or superior results when compared to placebo or other recovery drinks.”
Chocolate milk provides calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin D. These are nutrients important for building and maintaining strong bones. Cow’s milk provides all nine essential amino acids your body needs and is particularly rich in leucine, which seems to be the amino acid most involved in building and maintaining strong muscles.
A chocolate milk smoothie can be an incredibly effective recovery drink because beverages rich in carbs and protein are particularly effective at replenishing the sugars, fluids, and electrolytes lost during exercise, a study found.
The caffeine in chocolate dilates and relaxes blood vessels, helping oxygen-rich blood reach your muscles more quickly and easily.
However, keep in mind that the added sugar in chocolate can increase the risk of diabetes and obesity. A chocolate milk smoothie is amazing, but to get its full nutritional value only have it post-workout.
Adding oats to this smoothie can make it richer and healthier. They are full of carbs and fibre, have a higher concentration of protein and fat than most other grains and are very high in vitamins and minerals.
Personalize your smoothie or look for inspiration on the Perfect Blend app, where you can search recipes by dietary preference or by what’s in your pantry. You can also scale recipes to desired number of servings or calories.
6. SMOOTHIE BOWL
Smoothie bowls are a great alternative if you’d rather spoon your food than drink it. Frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit can make for a delicious and healthy smoothie bowl. Acai berries contain antioxidants, fibre and heart-healthy fats, and have been called a “superfood”.
Acai berries have an incredibly high amount of antioxidants, edging out other antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries and cranberries. Antioxidants found in food have been known to promote recovery and enhance performance.
A key aspect of acai bowls is achieving the right consistency, which makes owning a high-performance blender incredibly useful.
Top this bowl with nut butter (which you can make at home with a Vitamix blender), oatmeal, chia seeds, berries, cinnamon and yogurt.
The Vitamix blender offers a variety of settings to blend an always perfect smoothie, soup, sauce, spread, dressing and even acai bowls.