When I was a kid, I used to drink chocolate milk all the time. Then I grew up, and stopped drinking it for the most part.
(Confession: I often order chocolate milk if we go out to breakfast. WHAT?? Don’t judge.)
Recently, chocolate milk has been big news. Not only is it a great way to get kids to get their dairy servings in (I couldn’t stand white milk when I was a kid!), but it is also a FANTASTIC post-workout drink–the best, actually–because it contains the protein, carbs, electrolytes, fluids, calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, and other nutrients you need to refuel muscles, build muscle and help reduce exercise-induced damage, and hydrate and replenish electrolytes.
So we adults have permission–in fact, it’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED–to drink chocolate milk after strenuous exercise! Great news, right?
Currently, I take Zumba class three mornings each week (and will be adding something new on three more mornings very soon: more on that later!). I don’t eat breakfast before I go because Joy Bauer, the nutritionist on the Today Show (Love her!), told me (and technically the rest of America) that unless you are doing a really, really, really strenuous workout first thing in the morning, it’s a little counterproductive to eat beforehand. The calorie burn is better if you eat (or drink, in the case of chocolate milk) afterwards because your muscles are warmed up and working, getting that metabolism going.
Another great post-workout snack that I enjoy (but not on the same day as chocolate milk!) is a smoothie made with whey protein. Whey protein is great for building muscle and lean body mass, improving body composition, and enhancing athletic performance. Since it’s soluble, it gets absorbed by the body quickly and gets right to work on rebuilding and repairing lean muscle tissue. Whey protein is gluten-free, and is a rich source of branched chain amino acids that the body needs. You can mix whey protein with water if you want, but I’m not crazy about doing that so I make smoothies.
My go-to recipe for a whey protein smoothie is this:
A handful of frozen strawberries (great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants!)
A small banana (Vitamin B6, fiber, Vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium!)
1/3 can of LITE coconut milk
1 scoop of chocolate whey protein (see note about this below…)
Blend and enjoy. It’s THAT easy.
Regarding the whey protein: when you are trying this for the first time and don’t have a clue what brand to buy (there are lots of good ones!), go to your local health food/vitamin specialty shop where the staff is trained to answer questions about this. The whey protein I buy has (on the side of the package) a recommended serving size of THREE scoops, because it is made for body builders. Since I am not a body builder and have no desire to bulk up, I only use one scoop in my smoothies. See how that could get complicated? If you make sure you’re talking to someone who knows what they’re doing, you’ll be fine.
I have a great package of goodies up for grabs, courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Council. It contains some workout stuff (a hat and socks), recipes, some whey protein samples, a $15 iTunes gift card, a shaker cup, a cute little bag, a pencil, AND a Cuisinart Hand Blender, which makes the act of creating smoothies way easier than you could imagine because clean-up is super fast.
All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite workout is. You can get an extra entry by tweeting about this giveaway (including the link to this post) and then leave an extra comment telling me you did that. You have until next Tuesday morning May 29 at 7:00 a.m. Central to enter. I will choose the winner via a random drawing. If you win, you have until Thursday May 31 to respond to my email with your mailing address or I will have to pick another winner.
Disclosure: I received the same products that are included in the bundle I’m giving away from the Midwest Dairy Council (and no other compensation) for writing this post. All opinions are mine. Though I am an ACE-certified group fitness instructor, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. Please consult the experts in your life for guidance on an exercise or nutrition program.