Power Up with This Protein-Packed Wild Blueberry Smoothie
Good news, my friends – spring seems to have officially arrived! This would be great news no matter what, but as a runner, I’m even more excited to welcome the warmer temps and bright mornings. No more pitch dark early morning runs? Sounds good to me!
No matter the weather, I love liquid nutrition after a run. Last month, I shared one of my favorite post-workout recovery smoothies. Today, I’d like to share another one, with a special focus on protein!
If you’re a morning runner, I know it’s tempting to wait until you’ve showered and commuted to work to have breakfast, but it’s really important to make sure that you eat something as soon as possible after your run – ideally within 30 minutes of working out. This applies no matter what time of day you run! The longer you wait to refuel, the worse your recovery will be. Protein and carbohydrates are important to include in your recovery nutrition. Protein is needed to repair your damaged/worked muscle fibers, and carbs replenish your blood sugar and glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates in the body that gets used when you work out. This is why I really love post-workout smoothies, particularly as the weather gets warmer and a big meal can be hard to stomach right after a workout. I love having a small smoothie (or a larger one, if it’s been a long run day) immediately post-workout and then a larger meal (e.g. an egg sandwich, oatmeal, etc.) a bit later on. In addition to helping with your recovery and reducing the chance of injury, refueling with protein and carbs immediately after working out will also stave off sugar cravings later in the day!
This recovery smoothie is great because it’s high in protein, but all coming from real food! There’s definitely a time and place for protein powders – I use them occasionally in almond milk smoothies and granola bars, and recommend them to vegan and lactose intolerant clients – but I don’t think people realize that you can get all the protein you need without an expensive powder. Thanks to the milk and cottage cheese, this smoothie actually packs a whopping 28 grams of protein! It’s quite large, so depending on how hungry you are, feel free to just have half and save the rest for the next day; 14 grams of protein is still plenty for recovery.
Cottage cheese is a fantastic protein source with about 18 grams in the 2/3 cup used in the recipe, so you don’t need a ton of it to pack in a bunch of protein – it’s one of my favorite ways to add protein to breakfast. Hemp seeds actually provide quality (vegan) protein, too – they include all 9 essential amino acids, are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and pack soluble and insoluble fiber to help keep you full.
I love adding Wild Blueberries to my post-workout smoothies, too, since they are an incredible source of antioxidants like anthocyanins, which reduce oxidative stress on your body after working out and help improve muscle recovery. Make sure you use frozen fresh Wild Blueberries, not just regular – the wild variety packs way more antioxidants (and flavor) than regular blueberries. Banana is also a smoothie staple for me – it provides some sweetness and carbohydrates along with potassium to aid in hydration. As for the pineapple and mango, they help to provide more antioxidants and replenishing carbohydrates, with the added bonus of tropical sweetness, too.
Give this smoothie a shot and let me know what you think. Happy running – and recovery!