Healthy this; healthy that. At this time of year, so many of us are making New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthier in 2016, but some of us labor under the false impression that eating healthy is boring and counterproductive to the taste buds. Sometimes all you want for a post-run breakfast is something that explodes with refreshing taste—and isn’t loaded with fat and grease.
If that’s what you crave, there is one easy-to-make, great tasting drink that goes down smoothly is never boring: The smoothie. And if you make them properly, they are just about the healthiest, most nutritious way you can refuel your body.
Anyone can make a smoothie—even the most kitchen-impaired Neanderthal who can barely make a slice of toast. You have fruit, juice and a blender? You’re in business.
To get started making an energy-rich smoothie, all you need is the blender and the right foods. Now, the right foods means different things to different people but a good smoothie should be tasty, easy-to-drink and packed with enough nutrition to carry you through the day.
Building a runner’s smoothie, means building it from the ground up. That is, the base of any good smoothie is fruit. Obviously, fruit is packed with all sorts of nutrients that you need such as fiber, vitamins, water and minerals. In order to have a great smoothie, you need plenty of fruit. At least two or three different kinds of fruit will meet all your nutritional and taste needs.
Pick the types of fruit you like best, but some good suggestions to start with are strawberries, bananas, raspberries, kiwi fruit, pineapple slices, papaya, peach and mango. Pick two or three of your favorites and use as the base for your smoothie.
Fresh or frozen fruit? As a purist, you might automatically say fresh is better. Not necessarily true. If the frozen fruit you buy isn’t artificially sweetened, frozen fruit is much less expensive and more readily available (especially during the winter). In addition, frozen fruit such as strawberries provides a sturdy base for the smoothie and makes it cold without having to add ice. Some people add ice or ice cream to make it colder, but doing so either adds water or calories and fat. Stick with frozen strawberries.
The only fruit that I’ve found that doesn’t work well are apples. They taste fine, but apples change the color of the smoothie to a goopy green which is simply not appetizing.
So start with frozen strawberries and cut up a banana, pineapple, kiwi and papaya. Add at least three spoonfuls of fat-free yogurt and possibly a powdered protein boost.
Finally, add some juice of your choice. Orange juice works well as does grapefruit and cranberry. The juice will add plenty of vitamins and help the blender work smoother.
Cram everything into a powerful blender with a tight lid to make sure your smoothie doesn’t end up on the ceiling. You don’t have to mix up the ingredients any further; the blender will do the heavy lifting.
Fasten the lid and blend away for about 30 seconds or until all the ingredients are liquified. If there are chunks of fruit wedged into the bottom of the blender, add more juice and blend again.
Enjoy with a couple of pieces of toast or bagel for a great post-run breakfast which will reinvigorate, recharge and refuel you for the rest of the day.