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Fast nutrition for runners


Blend fruits and veggies once to enjoy multiple
smoothies. / Photo: T. Washko

Multitask with made-at-home smoothies
Runners have only so many hours in a day to run, stretch, hydrate, fuel up... oh yeah, and work, attend to family, and perchance to sleep. Smoothies help save time and meet individual dietary needs. Sorry kids, the Running Fitness Examiner is not suggesting the made-with-ice-cream-and-M&Ms type of smoothies; rather, homemade mixtures of fruit, vegetables, and milk for quick, delicious nutrition.

- Make ahead. To save time, blend a mixture of fruit (maybe even vegetables) large enough to provide multiple six- to eight-ounce servings. The batch can be stored in a glass container and refrigerated, ready to be blended with six- to eight-ounces of low-fat milk (cow or soy) for a fortifying breakfast or post-workout recovery meal. Handy tip: Prepare the large batch in a 56-ounce capacity or larger countertop blender and use a handheld blender for the daily mixing of the fruit puree and milk.

- Meet multiple nutritional requirements simultaneously. In addition to calcium, adding low-fat milk provides protein. Using unpeeled, but well-washed, fruits and vegetables packs benefits such as fiber (the insoluble fiber found in edible fruit casings is important for digestive health) and antioxidants (the peel of fruits such as apples can have up to six times the antioxidant power of the fruit flesh).

- Follow a recipe or create your own. Smoothies can be made according to a recipe (the Fitness magazine Web site offers tasty and nutritious ideas), personal taste and dietary requirements, and/or seasonal availability. Farmers' markets throughout Jersey City provide in-season, often organically grown local fruit, such as blueberries (New Jersey's official state fruit and usually available mid-June through mid-August) and Jersey peaches (typically available from July through the end of September). Be creative and mix as much as will fit in your blender! Toss in mangoes, berries, bananas, grated carrots, pineapples, oranges -- go nuts with peanut butter, even brewed green tea! Blend, store, and have no excuses for skipping breakfast or not getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet.

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