Loving the BITE: Quick Avocado Smoothie Meal

avosmoothieThere are many reasons why athletes look to convenient ready-to-eat meal replacement drinks and bars.  As noted, they are convenient. Ready to eat with no preparation.  And, many of us, tend to be busy.  When I first began working with serious athletes, I didn’t really anticipate the stress level that often occurs with busy schedules exacerbated with demanding training.

Don’t get me wrong, exercise is a wonderful stress reliever for the body.  But, waking up early, squeezing in hours extra training hours, and any racing on the weekends takes its toll. Many people, just trying to be fit, may spend 3-6 hours per week working out.  But many serious cyclists and endurance athletes, on the other hand, spend much more.

And, while we all must find ways to work through the schedules, simplify our lives, and de-stress, it can be difficult to find time for fresh healthy foods.  But, it’s worth it.  And, if you take a bit of time to prepare a big batch, smoothies can become as convenient as store-bought meal replacement drinks (not to mention much better for you and better tasting)!

Recipe of the Week: Meal Replacement Avocado Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Greek yogurt, 1 scoop (20 gm) protein powder, or 2 oz. extra firm organic tofu
  • 1/2 Tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 1/3 avocado
  • 1/2 cup greens (mixed, spinach, etc.)
  • 1 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp mint leaves (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds or whole chia seeds
  • 2 tsp organic/raw honey or real maple
  • water or ice as needed for desired consistency

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Try also making 4-6 servings at a time.  Freeze individual servings in containers such as mason jars (leaving an inch at the top for expansion), and allow to thaw in the ridge 24 hours before needed.

Comments:

First, what makes a good meal replacement? I look for these nutrients and attributes:

Whole Food Nutrient-Packed Carbohydrates:  The vibrant fruits in to this smoothie make a great whole-food source of carbs.  They pack antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber.

Vegetables: Anytime you can include vegetables in your meal, you should.  Loaded with disease-fighting components, enzymes, and more.

Protein: Greek yogurt, protein powder, or non-GMO organic tofu offer a good, highly bioavailable source of protein.

Healthy Fats: Avocados, coconut oil, and flaxseeds seeds are all great sources of fats providing omega-9s, medium chain triglycerides, and vegetarian omega-3s.  If you’re drinking it right away, you can use chia seeds instead of flaxseeds if you’d like. If freezing or saving, these may gel up too much and make it more of a pudding than a smoothie.

Fiber: This smoothie provides 12 grams of fiber.  This is a great amount of fiber for any meal.

Adequate, but not too many calories: As written, this smoothies packs approximately 400 calories, 38 grams carbs, 12 grams of fiber, and up to 23 grams of protein.  If you’re looking for about 100 more calories per serving, increase both the avocado and yogurt/protein powder/tofu by 50%. Many times, I see meal replacements sub-250 calories, which is often too low for a meal and leaves you too hungry later in the day. They are also often high in sugary carbs, and low in healthy fats and fiber.  And, of course, they are not fresh or raw.

But ours, is LOADED with fresh nutrients.  Here’s why you should stock up, use, freeze, and blend avocados while they’re in season.

Avocados provide:

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