Any muscle building workout makes use of our body's natural tendency to regenerate broken muscles, speeding up our metabolism and consuming calories as it does so. To facilitate this process the body naturally needs a healthy supply of protein and it looks for this supply in nutrients provided before and after the workout.
Here are five easy but highly effective ideas for protein packed smoothies you can consume to kick-start the regenerative process.
#1. Almond, Coconut and Chia Packed Smoothie
Nuts are one of the best forms of protein available, especially for those on a no-meat diet. They are incredibly satisfying and filling due to their slow-release of nutrients - making them the ideal addition to any pre-workout smoothing.
According to Dr. Lisa Moskovitz of the NY Nutrition Group nuts almonds in particular are a great source of long-lasting energy so are best consumed before sports like running or swimming.
Blitz a handful of almonds in some coconut milk and add some chia seeds for an extra kick. Finally, top off with shredded coconut and enjoy a delicious power packed smoothie.
#2. Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie
One of the best things about peanut butter is that it doesn't even need to be substituted in order to be healthy.
Although peanut butter has a very high calorie content, it is actually packed with protein and as The Peanut Institute, NY, itself points out, it was even used as a meat alternative in World War II.
Just a single scoop of peanut butter added to some almond milk can provide a healthy and fulfilling protein rich smoothie, but add a scoop of cacao powder and you won't be able to tell the difference between your deliciously healthy smoothie and a calorie-rich fast food one.
#3. Blueberry, Strawberry and Raspberry Smoothie
Although it might not be the first source you think of, fruit smoothies can actually be a great source of protein too.
Some people find it hard to drink a heavy protein smoothie, especially in hotter climates or just in hotter weather. In those cases, the best solution is to get your protein from the milk you use in your smoothie. Just add all the ingredients in a blender and your good to go.
Unsweetened almond milk or Coconut milk, blitzed with a handful of berries can provide an oxidant-rich source of protein that will feel refreshing no matter what season.
#4. Kale, Spinach, Kiwi and Apple Green Smoothie
Green smoothies seem to come in and out of fashion depending on what current research at the time says.
They are heralded as both amazing and potentially dangerous but as Dr. Michael Greger at NutritionFacts.org says, green smoothies are perfectly healthy and actually incredibly nutritious - provided they are consumed as supplements not replacements to actual meals.
Kale in particular is one of those superfood ingredients that can boost the protein content of any smoothie. For a quick and healthy pre-workout smoothie, blend a handful of kale and spinach with some sweeter fruits like kiwis and apples.
Adding a spoonful of honey can almost make it more palatable if you find it hard to drink a green smoothie.
#5. Oats, Almonds and Cacao Smoothie
An interesting variant on the basic smoothie is an oat and yogurt based version. Soak some oats overnight or cool some instant ones to create the base of your smoothie.
Blend it with a spoonful or two of low-fat yogurt to get a more creamy consistency and add any ingredient you want to create new flavours. A particularly good combination is oats, almonds and a spoonful of cacao blended with some low fat yogurt.
Yogurt provides slow-release carbohydrates that can keep you feeling energised for longer while the oats and almonds add a much-needed boost of protein
Other options can include berries like blueberries, strawberries or raspberries blended with a handful of oats and a few splashes of almond milk. Again, honey can be added to make the smoothie sweeter if needed.
Pre-workout smoothies are essential to keep energy levels high throughout your workout and allow muscles to effectively regenerate broken tissue.
The key to sticking to a pre-workout smoothie routine is to vary ingredients to keep the smoothies interesting and to make sure you keep your ingredient protein level high.
So if you’re tired of drinking the same pre-workout shakes, why not give one of these pre-workout protein smoothies a try?
Author: Roy Jones
Roy Jones is the lead editor of Blend It Nutrition a website that’s passionate about healthy “liquid” nutrition. We offer practical tips, recipes and nutritional advice for smoothies, juicing and shakes.