Health: Ask the Expert: Fuel Up After Your Workout

After a hard workout what can I grab that will fill me up but not slow me down?

 


You’re right, after a hard workout it’s imperative to refuel in order to keep the body energized and to help muscles recover. This berry smoothie is my favorite post-workout snack. What makes it different from any other fruit-swirled concoction? I use cottage cheese instead of yogurt. OK, don’t get grossed out yet. Once you blend it all up, I swear your taste buds will never notice the difference.

Make the swap, and you’ll cut half the sugar and double the protein. One 4-oz. serving of low-fat cottage cheese has about 12 grams of hunger-fighting, muscle-building protein and only 5 grams of sugar. (I love Light n’ Lively Low-fat Cottage Cheese because it has more calcium than any other brand.) Plain nonfat yogurt has about 9 grams of protein and more than double the sugar. Opt for a fat-free strawberry yogurt and you’re looking at about 18 grams of sugar, not to mention only a measly 4 grams of protein.

Whirl it around with some frozen blueberries, a half a banana, a little ice and a dash of liquid (milk, orange juice, even water works fine) to start things swirling, and you’ll have a tasty, post-workout drink in no time. For a little extra protein, add a half-serving of vanilla-flavored soy or whey protein powder. Pour it in a portable cup to sip on your way out the door, or blend in some extra ice for an ice-creamy consistency and eat with a spoon.

No matter how you choose to eat it, feel proud: you’ve also just snuck in two servings of fruit. Blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses, and studies have shown they are great for everything from your skin to keeping your memory sharp. Additionally, low levels of potassium, a mineral depleted through sweat, can lead to muscle cramping. That banana is a top source and will help you avoid those leg-grabbing pains in the middle of the night.

Cottage Cheese Berry Smoothie

1/2 c. low-fat cottage cheese

1/2 c. frozen blueberries (if you use fresh, just add extra ice)

1/2 banana

1/2 serving vanilla-flavored soy protein powder

Dash of water (or OJ or milk)

Ice

1 packet Equal (or another sugar substitute of your choice)

Add cottage cheese, blueberries, banana, protein powder and water in blender. Blend on high, stirring if needed. Add ice. Blend until desired consistency. Sweeten with Equal to taste.

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