If you're on the go like most student athletes you probably miss breakfast now and then....ask mom to have a smoothie waiting on the counter for those hurry up days.

Do you have a favorite smoothie or athlete breakfast you'd like to share. Send it in to editor@youthrunner.com

Last night I had a conversation about feeding skinny young runners with picky palates while chatting with a couple of moms at youth track practice on my evening walk. Providing enough healthy calories to growing athletes presents a unique challenge, especially when the adults in the house hold are trying stay lean by limiting their calories and fat intake. Children and teens who run long distance or are otherwise involved in high performance sports, can have huge calorie requirements (up to 3000 and 4000 calories per day) to support their growth. While you could easily satisfy those by eating at MacDonalds daily, that is not necessarily the most nutritious habit to establish, especially for athletes. This healthy smoothie can supply up to 700-800 calories depending on the milk you use (whole milk or 2% for kids), and up to a third of a child’s daily protein requirement depending on the brand of protein powder you use (look for at least 20 grams of protein per scoop or serving). You can calculate your child’s protein requirements using the following formula: 0.8 g/pound of body weight for growing athletes, and 0.5 g / pound for children with normal activity levels.

Of course, you as the parent can enjoy this shake for breakfast, providing it is made with unsweetened almond milk, cutting back the oats (or leave them out entirely and replace with a tablespoon ground flax seed), and skipping the canola oil, and the calories drop off quite a bit, all the way down to about 320 to be exact!  Same goes for those children that have no trouble meeting their calorie needs.

This is a great recovery drink after a hard practice, or a quick breakfast. Half a serving could even qualify for a picky toddler breakfast.

I make one of these at least several times a week for high school runner son to boost his calories.  It has everything the body needs to recover or to start your day (protein, potassium, some carbs and healthy fats). If you sip it while cooling off your legs in an ice bath or in your cold pool, you kill two birds with one stone.  Ice baths or very cold water baths for your tired legs are thought to speed recovery and may help prevent injury by slowing down tissue breakdown after vigorous exercise, followed by flushing away waste products as the muscles warm up again with increased blood flow . This has not been proven conclusively but it sure can’t hurt, and feels good!


Chocolate Banana Smoothie

In blender or with hand blender mix until smooth:

1 frozen banana , cut into chunks (freeze peeled cut bananas ahead of time – I keep a steady supply in the freezer)

1 scoop chocolate flavored protein powder

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 tablespoon canola oil (optional for adults)

1 1/2 cup milk (dairy, soy or almond milk)

optional: 1 tablespoon creamy natural peanut or almond butter for extra calories and protein