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After each child, I tried to give myself some grace and wait a couple months before thinking about dieting and exercising. All three times there was a part of me that hoped ALL the weight would fall off before I needed to start a serious diet and exercise program. Unfortunately, that NEVER happened! When my youngest was two months old, my weight loss stalled and I still had 40 pounds to lose! At that point, I knew it was time to jump back into a better eating and fitness plan.
My husband worked as a personal trainer in college and he taught me that a mix of cardio and weight lifting was the best way to go for long lasting results. Like a lot of women, I was intimidated by weight training and concerned that I would get bulky. The logic behind weight training for weight loss is that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Basically, by adding lean muscle you are increasing your metabolism. My husband convinced me to give it a chance and trust the process. I took his advice and started a weight training program.
Over the next year I consistently worked out, made better food choices, and dropped the weight. I quickly learned that one thing you MUST do when you start a workout program is give your body adequate fuel! Your body will need more nutrients to aid in recovery after intense workouts. One of the main nutrients you will need to increase is protein.
Smoothies can be a quick, easy and tasty way to add more protein to your day. I workout in the mornings before my kids go to school and husband heads out to work. When I get home from the gym, I need to get something in me fast so I can get everyone up and running. Through my weight loss journey, I have found that a little preparation makes good food choices easier and more likely. I prepare Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs ahead of time so I can throw everything in the blender and have a post-workout smoothie ready in seconds.
If you are ready to start your new workout program and need a quick post-workout snack, follow the steps below. You can have better-for-you Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs in your freezer and you will be ready to refuel after each workout.
Gather up your ingredients and supplies. I used Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt and Jif Peanut Powder to provide a large dose of protein without added sugar. (This is not a low calorie food. We are refueling after an intense workout, so the focus is on getting protein in quickly after the workout.) This recipe also includes ground flax seed which adds a boost of fiber, omega-3, and protein. Adding a banana to the smoothie will also add fiber along with potassium and vitamin C. Cocoa is an optional ingredient that will add some chocolate flavor without additional sugar. You will also need two ice cube trays and quart sized freezer bags for the Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs. I suggest using ice cube trays that are silicone or have silicone bottoms like the one pictured. It can be tricky to get the yogurt cubes out of a traditional ice cube tray!
Add the dry ingredients to the yogurt. This recipe is going to make enough yogurt mixture to fill two ice cube trays. Two trays of yogurt will make six Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs. That is enough to get you through the week with an extra if you decide to workout on the weekend. Always take at least one rest day per week, your body needs time to recover!
Divide the yogurt mixture equally among two ice cube trays and then freeze. Slice six bananas, lay them flat, and freeze in freezer bags. Make sure you get as much air out of the bags as possible to keep the bananas from turning brown. Once everything is frozen, assemble the freezer packs. Each pack should contain four yogurt cubes and one banana. On serving day, all you have to do is pour the freezer pack and 1/2 a cup of milk or almond milk in the blender and blend! It is so simple to whip up one of these smoothies, even on a busy morning. Since these are single serving packs, you may not want to get your BIG blender dirty. If you’re like me, you are rushing around in the mornings to get everyone where they need to be on time. No time to wash extra dishes! You can check out the Oster® Blend-N-Go® MyBlend® which is a great choice for making smoothies and the PERFECT size for a single serving smoothie. You literally blend and then the blending cup turns into your drinking cup-just fill, blend and go! I’m always up for one less dish to wash in the morning!
I made these better-for-you, protein packed smoothies for myself to refuel after intense workouts but my son couldn’t resist trying it out. I was happy to share!
Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs
32 oz Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt (Vanilla)
6 Tablespoons Jif Peanut Powder
2 Tablespoons Ground Flax
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (Optional)
6 Bananas, Sliced and Frozen
3 Cups Almond Milk or Skim Milk (Serving Day)
- Mix all ingredients together, except bananas and almond milk, and divide evenly among two ice cube trays.
- Once frozen, divide yogurt cubes and bananas evenly among six freezer bags. Each bag will contain four yogurt cubes and one banana.
- On serving day, pour contents of one bag in blender along with 1/2 cup of almond milk or skim milk. Blend until smooth and enjoy!
- Each smoothie contains about 18 grams of protein.
I found everything I needed to make the Protein Smoothie Freezer packs at my local Walmart. The Jif Peanut Powder is on the same aisle as the regular peanut butter. The Oikos is in the dairy section with the other yogurt. Do you have the Ibotta app on your smartphone? Check out this offer! You can get $1.50 cash back on the combination of Jif Peanut Powder and Oikos (Vanilla) Triple Zero Greek Yogurt OR $1.50 cash back on the combination of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Dannon Vanilla Yogurt!
The ice cube trays with silicon on the bottom that I mentioned previously, were at Walmart near the regular, plastic ice cube trays. I also saw ice cube trays made completely of silicon, which would work for this recipe. If you are interested in the Oster® Blend-N-Go® MyBlend® as an alternative to getting your big blender out each morning, it is also available at Walmart. Everything you need to get started is at one store. Could it be any easier?? A little preparation today, and you will be ready to refuel your body after tomorrow’s workout!