Top 10 Shakes to Fuel Your Running

sarah cuff Beverages, Food for Runners, Recipes for Runners, Run Recovery 4 Comments

Shakes and smoothies are a runners best friend, for a couple reasons:

One – Super Post-Run Awesomeness — Shakes are a fantastic way to deliver nutrients to your body after a long or hard run. They’re more appetizing to most than solid food (we tend to have suppressed appetites immediately following a run even though it’s actually a good time to be taking in nutrients), because the food is pulverized which makes it easier to digest.

Two – A Rockin’ Breakfast Option — Shakes also make a great breakfast – they’re a perfect way to start your day if you’re not a traditional type of breakfast person.

Three – An Easy Snack Idea — Shakes are easy to pack and take with you. Throw extra frozen fruit or ice cubes into the shake after mixing it up to ensure it stays cold while you’re on the go.

Here are ten fantastic dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free shakes and smoothies to incorporate into your daily habits:

1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

DSC_0008 - Version 2Yes, I’m starting with the chocolately shakes (YUM). I use raw cacao in my shakes – it’s very high in antioxidants and also contains iron.

Cacao also contains caffeine. Used before a run, caffeine is a performance enhancer (enhances your neuromuscular coordination) and helps you to use fat for fuel instead of glycogen. Used after a run, caffeine combined with carbs helps your body to rebuild its glycogen stores faster.

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 pitted mejool dates
  • 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp all natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 ripe banana (or another 2 medjool dates)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)
  • raw cacao nibs (for garnish)

Directions – Place coconut water, dates and cocoa in a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth. Then add peanut butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, banana and ice (and optional protein powder), and blend on high once again until smooth. Garnish with raw cacao nibs. Enjoy immediately.

2. Mocha Latte Shake

Chocolate and coffee – need I say more?

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Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup (250mL) swiss water decaf coffee (or regular coffee), chilled
  • 2 pitted mejool dates
  • 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 ripe banana (or another 2 medjool dates)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)
  • raw cacao nibs (for garnish)

Directions – Place chilled coffee, dates and cocoa in a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth. Then add hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, banana and ice (and optional protein powder), and blend on high once again until smooth. Garnish with raw cacao nibs. Enjoy immediately.

3. Chocolate Mint Shake

I just rattled off the benefits to cacao above, but mint is also beneficial for runners. Peppermint oil has been shown to significantly increase time to exhaustion and help runners run farther before fatiguing.

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Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup coconut water (or plain water)
  • 2 pitted mejool dates
  • 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 ripe banana (or another 2 medjool dates)
  • a drop or two of peppermint extract (just less than a ¼ tsp)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)
  • raw cacao nibs (for garnish)

Directions- Place coconut water (or water), dates and cocoa in a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth. Then add hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, banana, mint extract and ice (and optional protein powder), and blend on high once again until smooth. Garnish with raw cacao nibs. Enjoy immediately.

4. Blueberry Almond Smoothie

Okay, on to the fruity mixes. Blueberries are chock full of antioxidants and specifically contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to help runners recover faster by managing inflammation. This particular recipe is one of my favourite breakfast shakes.

DSC_0002

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp all natural, nothing added almond butter
  • 2 kale leaves, washed and de-ribbed or 1 scoop unflavoured greens powder
  • 1 ripe banana (or 2 pitted mejool dates)
  • ⅓ cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries
  • 6 frozen (or fresh) strawberries
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)

Directions – Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Enjoy immediately.

5. Cherry Berry Shake

When it comes to recovery, tart cherries are where it’s at. They are packed full of antioxidants, most predominantly anthocyanins. Studies have shown their positive effect on muscle recovery and pain reduction to be highly beneficial.

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Ingredients (makes 1 serving) 

  • 2/3 cup coconut water (or water)
  • 2/3 cup tart cherry juice (from montmorency cherries – Eden makes a good one)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 scoop greens powder or 1-2 kale leaves, washed and de-ribbed
  • 1 Tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries, preferably organic
  • 6-8 frozen strawberries, preferably organic
  • 1 tsp (5g) pure glutamine (optional)
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)

Directions – Place all ingredients in a high powered blender, pulse and then mix on high until completely smooth. Enjoy immediately; or pour into a to-go container to bring with you in order to consume it as soon as you complete your workout. If you’re brining it with you to be consumed later, you may wish to reduce or eliminate the chia seeds as they can cause the drink to ‘gel’.

6. Peach Strawberry Smoothie

DSC_0003Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp all natural, nothing added almond butter
  • 1 ripe banana (or 2 pitted medjool dates)
  • 1 cup frozen peach slices (or 1 fresh peach)
  • 6 frozen (or fresh) strawberries
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)

Directions – Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Enjoy immediately.

7. Tropical Smoothie

Pineapple and ginger are probably two of my favourite ingredients. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that fights inflammation and ginger is also highly anti-inflammatory.

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Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 banana (or 2 pitted medjool dates)
  • ½ cup frozen mango chunks or ½ fresh mango, pitted
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh pineapple chunks
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)

Directions – Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Enjoy immediately.

8. Gingerbread Shake

This shake makes use of the beneficial ingredients blackstrap molasses, ginger and cinnamon. Blackstrap molasses is an incredibly good source of iron (for comparison, blackstrap molasses contains 3.6mg iron per Tbsp while 3 oz lean sirloin contains 2.9mg). Ginger is known to be highly anti-inflammatory, thus helping you recover more quickly from your runs. And cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar levels.

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Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 ripe banana (or 2 medjool dates)
  • 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • ¼ tsp ginger spice (or grated fresh ginger)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon spice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 ice cubes
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)

Directions – Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired. Enjoy immediately.

9. Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, one of the most potent antioxidants. We need antioxidants to help with recovery and healing after a run. Paired with ginger and cinnamon, this smoothie makes a great post-run shake or a snack anytime!

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Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 ripe banana (or another 2 medjool dates)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • ¼ tsp ginger spice (or grated fresh ginger)
  • ¼ to ½ tsp cinnamon spice
  • 5 ice cubes
  • ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder (optional)

Directions – Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired. Enjoy immediately.

10. Green Smoothie

DSC_0054Ha, you didn’t think I was going to let you go without mentioning the green smoothie did you?!! This could have been number one – it’s the one smoothie out of all shakes and smoothies that I have every single day. Leafy greens are the most nutrient-dense foods out there.

Having a daily green smoothie is a great way to ensure you’ve gotten a daily dose of greens with all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and chlorophyll they provide!

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)

  • 1⅓ cups filtered water
  • 3 oz baby spinach or kale (loosely pack blender ⅔ full)
  • 3 oz romaine lettuce (fill remaining ⅓ in blender)
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger (optional)
  • few sprigs of parsley and or 1-2 stalks of celery
  • 1 apple (I like to use pink lady) OR 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 ripe pear OR 1 ripe banana OR 1 cup pineapples chunks

Directions

  1. Add water, spinach and romaine, optional ginger and parsley to a high-powered blender. Blend on high until smooth.
  2. Add the apple or mango, pear or banana or pineapple and process again on high until completely smooth (you may wish to add some ice if you are not using any frozen fruit).
  3. Enjoy some immediately and/or pour into containers (I like using the 16oz mason jars).
  4. Store in the fridge for up to 2 days and freeze any that won’t be consumed within that time period (allow 24 hours in fridge to thaw).

There you have it – smoothies and shakes for every occasion… Now… Get shakin’!

And happy running of course 🙂

sarah

Sarah J Cuff, RHN

Comments 4

  1. Hi Sara – these shakes look great and I can’t wait to try them. I will be travelling over the next couple of weeks but will need to fit in a few long runs. I am wondering if you have any recommendations on how to still be able to get a healthy shake while on the road travelling with carry on luggage only aka – no possibility of taking a blender?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Tara… Thanks, hope you enjoy them! Since you will be travelling right now though, I’d recommend looking for a Jugo Juice or something similar and getting shakes there that are made with coconut water as the base (as opposed to juices or milks) – you can usually get a shake with base coconut water, frozen fruit, banana and a handful of spinach – most juice bars have all those ingredients – some might even have hemp hearts to throw in! Or you can bring your own hemp hearts and sprinkle them over top – your own added garnish 🙂

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