Top Ten Smoothie Ingredients for Muscle Growth
Muscle building smoothies and protein shakes are a great way of getting the strong, sexy body you desire. They are a nutritious, calorie and protein rich way of meeting your diet goals. Adding the right ingredients into your muscle building shake is key to getting the most out of every meal. You don’t waste time in the gym, why would you want to waste time in the kitchen eating something that isn’t going to get your stronger? Muscle building smoothies using these ingredients are bound to be the most efficient way of getting the calories you need.
A great thing about smoothies is that you can mix and match different ingredients. If you are not fond of one type of food, you can leave it out. If a recipe you found doesn’t quite hit your nutrition goals you can change it around. Experiment – change the ratios of the things you are blending. You can put a lot of things into a smoothie. I like to add certain things that might not be on this list just for their flavor. However, if you want muscle growth, you should seriously consider every ingredient on this list.
These ten smoothie ingredients are the absolute best things to drink for building muscle. If you are sick of the bland old protein powder + water shakes that you have been drinking it is time to start mixing things up. Throw in new ingredients and turn that protein drink into a full protein meal!
Top Protein Rich Smoothie Ingredients
Your muscles crave protein. These are the best smoothie ingredients to get it.
People literately drink a gallon of milk a day when attempting to gain muscle. There’s a reason for this. Whole milk is an impressive source of calories and fat.
To gain a pound of bodyweight you will need to consume around 3500 excess calories. Over a week’s time that is 500 excess calories a day. The skinny guys and gals who have attempted to bulk know that this is easier said than done.
Drinking milk along with your regular diet can make weight gain easier. Milk is liquid, which is a huge help. Liquids don’t fill us up as easily as solid foods which means you can eat more. Smoothies need a liquid source and whole (sometimes called homo) milk cannot be beat. Water adds no calories or protein to your diet. Juices should be avoided and whole fruits and vegetables should be used instead.
Finally, the price of milk is pretty cheap compared to other calorie sources.
Also in the dairy department, Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse. Greek yogurt is made by condensing regular yogurt. Remove some of the liquid and carbohydrates from regular yogurt and you are left with Greek yogurt. It has twice the protein as regular yogurt. Like other dairy products, the protein type is casein. Casein is a valuable protein because it is slowly absorbed over time. The slow absorption ensures that your muscles have a steady source of protein when they are being rebuilt after a heavy workout.
Whey Protein Powder
Though this one may be an obvious, some people have hang ups about adding protein powder to their shakes. They think it’s unnatural or it’s similar to steroids. Neither of those things is true. Whey protein is an important addition to a smoothie or shake. It is especially crucial right after a workout. Unlike casein protein, whey protein is absorbed in a quick burst. This is why drinking a protein shake post-workout is a great idea. A hard workout will destroy muscle fibers and for those fibers to regrow bigger and stronger they need protein. The faster they get that protein the faster they start rebuilding. Whey protein provides your body with a quick increase of muscle building blocks.
Nut butters are super dense. Two tablespoons add 8g of protein to your diet. Peanut butter is the most common, but there are a number of other nut butters with different nutritional makeup. Mixing in peanut butter to your smoothie can improve the taste and thickness of the drink. Peanut butter is also easier to eat in liquid smoothie form.
Peanut butter is a good source of healthy (Mono and Polyunsaturated) fats. These are essential to a healthy body. Be sure to buy natural peanut butter, as the cheap stuff has unhealthy additives.
Peanut butter can also be a useful tool for cutting weight. If you are using smoothies for weight loss, but still find yourself hungry between meals, try adding some nut butter to your smoothie. Though it does have a significant amount of calories, it is also really filling. It can keep your body satisfied by suppressing hunger urges. A tablespoon of peanut butter is great for weight loss if it prevents you from cheating and eating too much due to uncontrollable hunger.
Surprised to see a leafy green on the list? You shouldn’t be. It’s low in calories. This means it is ideal for making weight-loss green-smoothies. To stay strong you need to ensure you get enough protein, even when on a calorie deficit. Kale keeps your protein intake high while keeping the calories down.
At the same time it will not take anything away from a high calorie shake. If the other ingredients in your smoothie are high in calorie then all the kale will do is increase the nutritional and protein values. This is because leafy greens are so easily digestible. You can add an almost unlimited amount of them to a smoothie and not be full.
Along with being good at not making you full, while still providing your body with protein, kale is great because of all the other nutritional value. Everyone should eat more leafy greens. Kale contains tons of vitamins, iron, calcium (more than milk, per calorie) and fiber. It also has a bunch of flavonoids, some of which have been linked to anti-inflammatory effects. This may be especially helpful for injuries or strains created while working out. Overall, kale is probably the healthiest food on this list.
Top Calorie Rich Smoothie Ingredients
If you want muscle growth you must consume enough calories to feed your muscles. Without the proper amount of calories and protein your body will not have enough nutrients to build muscle, no matter how hard you workout. The following are the best calorie rich foods to add to a muscle building smoothie.
Adding fruit to a smoothie is a smart idea. Along with all the vitamins and fiber that fruits posses they add a sweet flavor to the smoothie. Many people struggle to get their daily servings of fruit. Though protein is most important for muscle growth, do not neglect carbohydrates. They too are necessary, and fruits are mostly carbohydrates. By adding fruit to your smoothie you are not only making it taste better but improving your overall health.
Bananas are one of the fruits that dominate smoothie recipes. They are sweet, and make a pleasing combination when mixed with nut butters, but they are also one of the most calorie rich fruits. A medium sized banana has about 105 calories. Melons, berries and most other fruits do not come close. Bananas also contain a ton of potassium. Potassium helps sustain hydration and prevents muscle soreness and cramps.
If you are a freak of nature who dislikes bananas you should consider blueberries as an alternative. They contain about 85 calories per cup, which is pretty good for fruits. They also have a bunch of healthy vitamins and minerals.
Fats tend to get a bad rap, but we do need them just as much as we need protein and carbohydrates. Saturated fat is still controversial, especially on the Internet. Some claim that the adverse affects of saturated fat are overblown. There is no full consensus. However, there is pretty clear evidence that saturated fats are terrible for you when combined with refined carbs. If you eat lots of refined carbs (pizza, pancakes, cookies, sugar), then you should stay away from saturated fats. Your heart will thank you for doing so.
Luckily olive oil is low on saturated fat. In fact it is mostly made up of monounsaturated fat and the scientific community is in consensus that monounsaturated fats are a healthy and essential part of a good diet. These healthy fats are an impressive way to boost your calorie intake. Most cooking oils have similar nutritional values.
Adding avocado to a smoothie makes the texture creamy. Avocados are a high-fat fruit. Like olive oil, the fat in an avocado is mostly monounsaturated. Unlike oils, which are largely all fats, avocados also have carbs and protein in them. A cup has about 3g of protein. Like many other fruits they have a lot of vitamins, fiber and actually have more potassium than bananas. They also have more calories than bananas. The only issue with avocados is that they do not have a sweet flavor like many other fruits. They’re a fantastic addition to your smoothie for nutrition and their smooth texture, but in terms of flavor they might not be sweet enough.
Speaking of sweet, dates are super sweet. Dried dates have more calories per cup than avocados and they taste great. They are mostly made up of carbs, with a decent amount of protein. Like avocados you will want to remove the pits before adding them to a smoothie.
Dates have a bunch of vitamins and minerals in them; copper, manganese, magnesium, vitamin B6, etc. It doesn’t matter if you eat them fresh or dried. Dried are nice because you can buy a lot and just store them without them going bad, but both fresh and dried have all those vitamins and minerals.
Dates are also one of the few fruits that have a high glycemic index. This means they are absorbed quickly by our bodies. Because of this, dates are superb for morning smoothies or post-workout smoothies. When you wake up in the morning your body has not had any food for about eight hours. If you are trying to gain muscle, that is a long time without new nutrition. You will want something that is absorbed by the body quickly, reaching those poor starving muscles as fast as possible. Post-workout is similar. You just destroyed your muscle fibers and they need nourishment ASAP to start rebuilding. Remember a date is great!
They’re not just for oatmeal anymore. Oats are an amazing source of calories. That is why they are the go-to breakfast food for athletes around the world. The amount of energy they pack into a single bowl will get just about anyone through a hectic morning. They’re just as useful blended up into a smoothie. There are a few different types of oats but on average they pack 300 calories and 12g of protein per cup. Half a cup per smoothie is usually a good amount. A lot of people like to grind them up into a powder using a coffee grinder before adding them to a smoothie, however this is not necessary. You will be fine simply adding the oats into the blender like you would any other ingredient and blending them up. Instant oats are already a quick meal, but adding them to a smoothie can be even quicker. Think about oats next time you need a quick source of calories.
Compare the top ten muscle building ingredients:
|Milk – 1 Cup||149||7.7||7.9||11.7|
|Greek Yogurt – 1 Cup||130||23||0||10|
|Protein – 1 Scoop||120||24||1||3|
|Peanut Butter – 1 Tbsp||95||4||8||3|
|Kale – 1 Cup||33||3||0||6|
|Banana – 1 Banana||105||1.3||0.4||27|
|Olive Oil – 1 Tbsp||119||0||13.5||0|
|Avocado – 1 Avocado||321||4||29||17|
|Dates – 1 Cup||414||3.6||0.6||110|
|Oats -1 Cup||300||5||3||27|
Those really are the only ingredients you need to make a huge variety of great tasting smoothies and shakes. Play around with them, see what combinations work best for you. Add other ingredients, especially other fruits ( strawberries + bananas ) to change the flavors or nutritional makeup of the smoothies. There are so many possibilities for smoothies that you should never get bored with the foods you are drinking.
Check out our favorite high-calorie smoothie recipes which use many of these ingredients.
Good luck, and may Brodin show you the whey.