So, I’ve been studying. For a few months now actually. I enrolled in a sports nutrition program back in the fall and by the time summer comes, I’ll be a Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor. It’s kind of interesting to look back and reflect. I was always an athlete growing up, playing soccer, softball and floor hockey, it formed a huge part of my life. In fact, I still play ball, love getting my butt kicked at the gym by the trainers and I’m usually up for ANY sort of athletic adventure. I revel in physical activity and sport. Growing up though, the role of nutrition in sport wasn’t something that was ever on my radar.
I’ve noticed that since I started the program, along with learning a lot of useful and interesting things, I’ve been making little tweaks here and there to my eating habits. In some cases, it has to do with timing of meals and in other cases, it has to do with mindfully making sure that we (my family and I) are getting enough of certain nutrients. Protein is a biggie. In a lot of cases, the typical North American diet comes in a little short in the protein department. Instead, it’s usually a little carb heavy, with way too many refined ones, at that.
As one who usually has a hard time turning down anything that looks carby, decadent or cheesy, I have found that if I make sure I’m getting enough protein throughout the day, that the treats, though not less tempting, are easier to portion control.
A protein shake in the morning or after a workout is a great way to pump up your daily protein intake, as well as add a good dose of fruit and veggies. Mixed up the right way, shakes are downright delicious.
Seriously, is there any better combination than chocolate and peanut butter?
In my world, it’s up there with one of the best flavour combos of all time 😉
This Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake takes the rich decadence of an all time great flavour combination and turns it into a lightly sweet, still super delicious treat that you can actually feel good about.
1 good handful of spinach (or your favourite leafy greens)
1 tbsp organic flax seed oil (see note below)
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (see notes below)
1 1/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 -3/4 Cup ice
hemp hearts and chocolate shavings (for garnish)
Place all the ingredients (except the hemp hearts and chocolate shavings) in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth. Makes 1 large smoothie or 2 small smoothies.
Why flax oil? Flax oil is a crazy good source of omega 3 (an essential fatty acid). Involved in brain function and hormone action, omega 3 also improves insulin sensitivity, reducing it’s resistance to glucose. It needs to be consumed dietarily and in an ideal ratio to omega 6 (another essential fatty acid). Western diets tend to be a little heavy on the omega 6 and a little light on the omega 3, making flax oil a very beneficial addition to a healthy diet. Other great sources of omega 3 include wild fish, game meats or grass-only beef, hemp, walnut and pumpkin seed oils.
Protein Powder: For my smoothie, I used Vega Choc-A-Lot protein smoothie, but really the choice is yours. If you’re using Whey protein, Isolate is a better choice than concentrate. Isolate has a higher standard for actual protein content versus concentrate. Both are good, but Isolate is better.
For more great smoothie recipes, click here