While pre-mixed smoothies and protein shakes can be a part of a healthy diet, these usually don't offer the same nutritional value as a freshly-prepared smoothie. A healthy smoothie gives me the boost of energy and nutrition I need to get through an intensive workout, and I usually make these at home so I can try out different recipes and use fresh ingredients. Certain ingredients are perfect for a pre-workout meal, and you can play with different combinations to create your own "standby" recipe for workout days. Buying frozen fruit and stocking up on the bulk-size frozen yogurt or protein powder will help you save on the cost of each smoothie.
I use any of these seven healthy ingredients to make a nutritious pre-workout smoothie:
Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, blueberries are a great way to sweeten an otherwise simple smoothie and will also add much-needed fiber and water to the mix.
#2: Peanut Butter
Not the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think "smoothie," but peanut butter can be a tasty and nutritious addition to your pre-workout meal. High in protein and healthy fats, peanut butter can also make your smoothie that much more satisfying.
Another antioxidant-rich berry that can pack a punch, raspberries in season will sweeten up your vanilla smoothie and can be mixed with almost any type of fruit.
#4: Fat-free or Low-fat Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
Instead of using fresh yogurt or milk as a base for your smoothie, try fat-free or low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt instead. I've found that frozen yogurt makes my smoothies creamier and more like a rich milkshake. You'll also get a boost of calcium with this ingredient.
#5: Whey Protein Powder
Adding a scoop of whey protein powder to your smoothie will make it thicker and that much more nutritious. Whey protein powder is fairly easy to digest and will give your body that much-needed protein you need as you push through a workout. Try vanilla or chocolate flavors for some variety. My favorite is Pure Protein 100% Whey Protein. It's lower in carbs than other brands and contains 25 grams of protein per scoop.
Fresh is the way to go when buying mangoes, but if they're not in season and you still want that mango flavor in your smoothie, go with the canned variety. Do check your grocer's freezer section to see if they have frozen mangoes. Mango can improve digestion and will also add vitamins and minerals to your pre-workout smoothie.
A common ingredient for many fruit smoothies, bananas are high in potassium and vitamin B6 -- essential for any workout. They will also make your smoothies a little denser, so your pre-workout meal will actually feel like a meal.
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