Each week, our own fitness fanatics Leah Polakoff and Caitlyn Kronket will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.
For this weekâ€™s weighing in, we decided to get personal. Columnist Caitlyn Kronket shares one of her favorite post-workout meals complete with all the vitamins, minerals and protein your body needs to repair those (hopefully somewhat sore) muscles.
All it takes are a few simple â€“ albeit powerful â€“ ingredients and a blender. So get ready, set, pulse!
Whey Vanilla Protein
Listen girls, protein powder isnâ€™t just for body-builders and the Jersey Shore crew. In fact, most of us could use more of this muscle-building compound in our diets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 33 percent of women ages 20 to 40 donâ€™t fulfill the daily recommended allowance of 46 grams per day.
I use Eas Whey Vanilla Protein Powder, which has around 23 grams of protein and 130 calories in one scoop. I usually throw in half a scoop (the other ingredients in this shake also incorporate protein), but feel free to tailor it to your specific protein needs.
Leah and I preach the benefits of Greek yogurt on here again and again. But to refresh your memory a bit, this creamy snack is a great source of calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D.Â Yogurt is also unique because it contains powerful probiotics, a type of bacteria that help improve both digestion and the immune system.
Additionally, a 6-ounce serving of Chobani yogurt packs 13 to 18 grams of protein depending on flavor. Other brands include Dannon Oikos and Fage, which offer 11 to 15 grams and 11 to 13 grams per 5.3 ounce serving respectively.
Although fruit definitely has its perks, it wasnâ€™t coined â€œnatureâ€™s dessertâ€ without reason. Despite being packed with nutrients like fiber, potassium and a ton of vitamins, fruit tends to be sugary and a little bit goes a long way. I use the berry medley kind from Giant (itâ€™s a combination of blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries) but any of the mixed varieties from brands like Dole or Yoplait will work just as well.
OK, I know what youâ€™re thinking â€“ spinach in a shake/smoothie? Ew.
Well, believe it or not, there is a method to my madness. The taste of the protein powder, yogurt and fruit overpowers the flavor of the spinach. Besides, spinach is packed with nutritional compounds like folate (vitamin B9), which increases energy levels, vitamin A, which promotes healthy skin, and magnesium, which helps maintain blood pressure.
I think itâ€™s safe to say those perks make up for the green tint (itâ€™s subtle, I promise) of this shake. After all, werenâ€™t we taught not to judge by appearances? Donâ€™t knock it before you shake it.
I wrote an article on the benefits of this stuff a few weeks ago but to recap for those of you who missed it, flaxseed is a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fat thatâ€™s great for brain health). Toss in a teaspoon or two to help keep you feeling full and for some extra protein as well.
This is just one example of a protein-vitamin shake that packs a lot of punch in just a few ingredients, but there are plenty of other combinations that offer different, though equally beneficial, nutrients.Â Another favorite of mine uses frozen banana, peanut butter, almond milk and chocolate protein powder (it might as well be a chocolate milkshake because man, is it good).
Variety is the spice of life, so donâ€™t be afraid to shake things up a bit.
Photo by Brittany Trappe