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Nutrition: Smoothies for athletes

Nutrition: Smoothies for athletes

Smoothies are deceptively simple to make and these bad boys are nutritional powerhouses, as Eleanor Jones explains

They’re nutritious and delicious and if you follow the mix and match guide below you can create your own smoothie recipes that are tailor-made to meet your needs.

Protein (20g) Little guys Extra energy
 Breakfast Yes Yes Yes
 Low fuel (sprint or jumps) Yes Yes No
High fuel (conditioning session, endurance, growth phase)  Yes Yes Yes
Recovery (after session)  Yes Yes Yes
Protein

This is usually provided by dairy products which are also high in calcium. If you use non-dairy versions, pick a calcium-fortified product.

» Whole milk (per 100ml: 132kcal, 10g carbohydrate, 7g protein).
» Total 0% Greek yogurt (per 100g: 57kcal, 4g carbohydrate, 10g protein).
» Dried milk powder (per serving: 206kcal, 30g carbohydrate, 21g protein).

The little guys

Adding fresh, frozen or canned berries and vegetables adds antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids that can be overlooked when you’re looking after your macros. These little guys can improve your recovery, immune function and overall training capacity.

» Frozen summer fruits (per 100g: 27kcal, 5.4g carbohydrate, 1g protein and 110% RDA vitamin C).
» Cherry active juice (30ml shot).
» Spinach or kale (per cup: up to 30kcal, 7g carbohydrate, 2g protein).

Extra energy

Need a little extra pick-me-up? These extras can add fibre, carbohydrates and fluids when your fuel needs are higher.

» Porridge oats (per 50g: 185kcal, 31g carbohydrate, 5g protein).
» Apple juice (per 100ml: 50kcal, 12g carbohydrate, 0g protein).
» Banana (per medium banana: 105kcal, 27g carbohydrate, 1g protein).
» Nuts and seeds (flaxseed per 2tbsp: 77kcal, 0g carbohydrate, 3g protein; peanut butter per tbsp: 92kcal, 2g carbohydrate, 4g protein).

Tips and tricks

Use milk or fruit juice to adjust the consistency of your smoothie and use frozen fruit to increase the thickness, or ice cubes if using fresh fruit. You can freeze your smoothie too – perfect if you make up a double portion or just fancy an ice lolly.

Smoothies

» Blueberry & Mango

Add one cup of blueberries and mango, one cup of Greek yoghurt and milk or apple juice as desired. Blend and serve. Flaxseed can also be added for more fibre and a healthy fat content. Add oats or a banana if your fuel needs are higher.

» Peanut Butter & Cherry

Use one banana, one cup of frozen cherries, two to three tablespoons of peanut butter and 500ml of milk. Blend and serve (enough for two). Contains about 50g carbohydrate per portion and 25g of protein. This smoothie is sure to fill you up ready for the day or session ahead. Try chocolate protein powder instead of cherries for a sweet treat.

» Eleanor Jones is senior sport scientist at the University of Birmingham and a BASES accredited sport scientist with an IOC Diploma in sports nutrition

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