Superfood Smoothies

In the sweltering heat of a mid-summer beach volleyball tournament, a fruit smoothie tastes great and provides a refreshing snack as you recharge between games. Instead of indulging in artificially-flavored energy drinks packed with sugar, try making a nutritious smoothie from whole-food ingredients that are tasty and enhance performance and recovery. By including nutrient-dense superfoods, smoothies can serve as high-octane fuel for athletes.

Breakfast: Start Your Engine

A nutritious breakfast smoothie is a time-efficient meal that can provide slow-releasing energy to fuel your body and mind. For sustained energy, include a carbohydrate source that digests slowly, such as oats, and healthy fats, like almond butter. Large flake oats contain soluble fiber that absorbs water in the gut forming a gel-like consistency. The soluble fiber is excellent for slowing how fast food travels through us, regulates blood sugar, and even reduces cholesterol. This slows digestion and helps you feel fuller longer.

Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie

Choose your liquid
1 cup
1% milk or
Unsweetened soy milk or
Almond milk or
Rice milk

Add carbs for fuel
½ cup large flake oats
½ banana (fresh or frozen)

Add superfood
1 cup frozen blueberries
½ cup spinach or kale (stems removed)
**You won’t even taste the greens – promise!**

Add healthy fat
1 tbsp natural almond butter
**Experiment with other butters like sunflower seed or cashew**

Add slow-releasing protein
½ cup plain, low-fat
Greek yogurt

Protein boost
1 scoop (20g) chocolate whey or pea protein

Mid-tournament: Mind & Body Boost

By mid-tournament or mid-day, many players begin to feel more lethargic and less mentally sharp than they did during morning matches. Improve your mental focus by including carbohydrates in your meals and snacks. Carbs contain sugar, which is our brain’s only energy source. Fibrous fruits are excellent in afternoon smoothies because they contain some carbs in addition to brain-boosting antioxidants and phytochemicals. These fruits highlight an important difference between juicing and smoothies. Smoothies include fibrous pulp and the nutrients in fruit skins that are lost during the juicing process. A mid-tournament body and mind boost would not be complete without adding omega-3 fatty acids to your smoothie. Hemp hearts, ground flax seeds, or even flavored fish oil can serve as excellent sources of omega-3 fats.

Mango Passion Fruit Brain Boost Smoothie

Pour your liquids
1 cup chilled mango passion fruit green tea and crushed ice
½ cup plain soy milk

Add brain energy
1∕3 cup chopped frozen mango
½ cup frozen strawberries
**Frozen fruit is cheap and easy to store in the freezer**
½ an orange, peeled

Add superfood
1 tsp ground flax seeds
**You can purchase flax seeds already ground, or grind them yourself in a food processor or coffee grinder**

Add protein
1 scoop (20g) vanilla whey protein

Post-game: Muscle Recovery

Have you ever noticed that your shoulders and knees often feel hot or even appear a little swollen after a grueling match? These symptoms are signs of inflammation and occur after high-impact activities like jumping. Antioxidants constitute one important ingredient in a post-game smoothie because they help reduce joint inflammation. After playing a full game or completing a weight training session, there are two additional nutritional priorities to consider: replenishing stored carbohydrates in our bodies (glycogen) and repairing damaged muscle fibers. These nutritional needs explain why a fruit high in carbs and a fast-digesting lean protein source are very important ingredients in a post-game smoothie.

Post-Game Recovery Smoothie

Pour your liquids
1 cup chilled berry herbal tea
½ cup 1% milk or unsweetened soy milk

Add carbs to refuel
1 whole banana

Add superfood
½ cup frozen raspberries
¼ cup frozen cranberries

Add fast-digesting protein
1 scoop (20g) vanilla whey protein

Originally published in July 2013

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