As a snack or a quick meal, a smoothie done right is packed full of goodness:
Introducing The NBA Coaches Coconut Cherry Lime Smoothie (Recipe and Nutritional Benefits)
Nutrient-dense, flavorful, and easy to prepare— smoothies pack a powerful nutritional punch!
Beware: not all smoothies are created equal. Many commercial brand smoothies contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners and little to no protein or healthy fat for sustained energy. However, when you know which ingredients to combine, a smoothie can be an excellent, balanced nutritional choice that will keep you full and energized for hours. In a pinch, a well-balanced smoothie can even fill in for a small meal. Using unique ingredients such as coconut oil, avocado (no, you can’t taste it!), peanut or almond butter, Greek yogurt, or even leafy greens lends a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals without the effort of preparing each food individually.
Smoothies are easily portable, a great on-the-go choice and can be poured into a smoothie shaker or recyclable blender bottle. Smoothies are best consumed within one hour of making them. Also, smoothies are an option to use in the morning when you do not have time for a meal, after a workout, pre-game with a protein based snack as an energy booster or during flights, to combat dehydration. Try this Coconut Cherry Lime Smoothie for anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and fatigue-fighting benefits all in one!
Recipe: NBA Coaches Coconut Cherry Lime Smoothie
1 cup Frozen tart cherries*
½ cup Frozen strawberries
1 cup Coconut Water
1 tbsp Chia seeds
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp Coconut oil
1 tsp Unsweetened shredded coconut
Blend frozen cherries, strawberries, coconut water, chia seeds, coconut oil and lime juice. Garnish with unsweetened coconut flakes. Enjoy!
Tart Cherries* contain powerful antioxidants known for their anti-inflammatory properties. After a long day on your feet, the inflammatory reducing agents found in tart cherries will help your body restore and repair muscle and potentially reduce joint pain and swelling. Furthermore, tart cherries are also rich in melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Researchers from Louisiana State University concluded that adults who consumed tart cherry juice slept an average of 84 minutes more than those that did not consume the juice. Worried about an upcoming game or traveling to multiple time zones in a short period of time? Tart cherries may just be the answer for promoting better, more restful sleep.
*If your local health food store does not carry Frozen Tart Cherries, you may substitute with Pitted Frozen Cherries (available at Trader Joes) or Sour Cherry Concentrate (available at Whole Foods).
Coconut water is a great liquid to use in smoothies as an alternative for regular milk or yogurt. This slightly sweet, mild liquid contains replenishing electrolytes and potassium that keep you well hydrated and stabilized. Although raw, unsweetened coconut water is naturally low calorie and low sugar compared to other popular electrolyte sport drinks, watch out for brands that contain additional sugars or artificial sweeteners.
Coconut oil provides an impressive amount of health benefits. This rich oil contains properties that contribute to stress relief, maintenance of cholesterol levels, boosted immune system, proper digestion, weight loss and sustained, long-lasting energy and satiety. Coconut oil is easily digested (unlike many other fats) and is burned for quick energy rather than being stored as fat. It also strengthens the immune system due to antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties and improves digestive and gut health. Just one small serving of coconut oil per day will provide a number of nutritional benefits and a burst of long-lasting energy. (Not to mention, it lends a rich, smooth texture to your smoothie!)
Chia seeds make a great nutrient-dense addition to any smoothie without altering the flavor. These tiny black seeds contain plenty of fiber, protein, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. When consumed, chia seeds absorb water and expand, thus keeping you fuller for longer and providing fibrous bulk to aid your digestive system. Chia seeds are also known for their ability to provide long lasting energy. Consuming a moderate serving of chia seeds on a regular basis will help stabilize your blood sugar, prevent midday energy crashes and stave off hunger for long periods between meals.
Note: If you are looking for a more “filling” smoothie, you can always add items such as a tablespoon of peanut butter, half of an avocado, sliced banana, and/or strawberries to keep you full of energy.
Any questions or want specific suggestions?
Contact Stacy Goldberg, MPH, RN, BSN,
Official Nutritionist for the NBA Coaches Association