Phew! The weather here in South West Wales is being unusually hot at the moment. As I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, my Sunday long run was a real struggle as I combatted the heat and the hills. I could have headed for a flat coast run, but hills are speedwork in disguise and good for the soul, right? Also, heading inland meant that I could get some much needed shade that would be missing from the coast. The day before, I had made a batch of the two types of watermelon and strawberry smoothie pictured above – and by the time I was at about 13m into the run, with 3m to go and having run out of fluids, the thought of downing one of these smoothies was pretty much what kept me going!
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I love watermelons! They are beautiful to look at, both inside and out, refreshing and delicious – and they always make me feel summer has properly arrived! They also make for perfect post run hydration when whizzed up into one of these watermelon and strawberry smoothies. These both taste so good, that I would still have them if they weren’t so darned nutritious: but they are!
Watermelons contain over 90% water ( the clue’s in the name!), which in itself is great for hydration, but also has a host of other beneficial compounds. Watermelon contains good amounts of the antioxidant lycopene – it’s a better source than tomatoes – which is linked with heart health, cancer prevention and strong bones. Lycopene is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. Watermelon is also a good source of beta-carotene, another powerful antioxidant.
The flesh of the watermelon is a rich source of vitamins A, B1, B5 and B6 and C too. It also provides useful amounts of copper and some potassium. As potassium is lost through sweat during exercise, replacing it as soon as possible – along with sodium and fluids – is essential to maximise both wellbeing and performance.
Watermelon is also a good source of the amino acid citrulline. Research has suggested that citrulline can help reduce muscle soreness in athletes and reduce recovery heart rate.
Don’t discard the seeds from your watermelon either! Watermelon seeds have been shown to be an excellent source of a range of minerals – calcium, potassium, magnesium, some sodium, phosphorus and zinc – as well as providing fibre and yet more antioxidants. I chuck the seeds in along with the flesh. A decent blender makes short work of them. And with that list of goodies contained in the seeds, I think I’d put up with a bit of ‘texture’ if I had a less powerful blender!
On the subject of blenders, i really do recommend getting a decent one if you are going to whizz up ice cubes! If you only have a basic model, I would leave out the ice cubes and just rely on the chill from the fruit. Make sure that you refrigerate all the fruit well in advance, obviously. It won’t be as cold, but you won’t have a broken blender either!
Some commercial grade blenders are eye-wateringly expensive. they might be great, but I couldn’t justify the expense personally. My own blender is a Berg. These are commercial grade blenders that retail for a fraction of their more well-known competitors. I have had mine for over 5 years and have used it pretty heavily over that time with no complaints at all. I wouldn’t change it, it’s one of my favourite bits of kit. The one I have isn’t available now, but the upgraded model is. If you are in the market for a new blender, check them out for both quality and value (affilate link)
The strawberries add a little to the texture and taste – and natural sweetness – in both of these watermelon and strawberry smoothies. Although there are only a few strawberries in this recipe, they also lend a good boost of vitamin C, more antioxidants, manganese and potassium, further helping replenish stores of precious electrolytes and minerals lost through exercise.
So the 2 versions: in the photo at the top of this post, the version in the 2 Kilner jars with straws are the basic go-to watermelon and strawberry smoothie. The jug and the glass contain my preferred post long-run version. Exactly the same as the original, but with the addition of a medium sized banana and half a pint of milk (I used semi-skimmed cow’s milk, but you can use the milk of your choice). The milk and banana make a thicker texture and a more frothy drink – think milk shake more than smoothie. The addition of these 2 elements boosts both the carbohydrate and protein content of the drink, both of which are important to replace as quickly as possible after a long run. Ideally within 20 minutes, but definitely aim to do so within the hour. The carbs replace spent energy, while the protein speeds up the carb replenishment and also helps with repairing muscle damage.
So, there you go: 2 fantastic drinks to help support your healthy lifestyle. The recipe below is for the basic version. Just add the banana and half a pint of milk for the “long-run” version.
Let me know how you get on with your version of watermelon and strawberry smoothie in the comments below 🙂
** Oh, and the eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that my Facebook post pic was of me drinking a “basic” version after my long run.
That’s because I made a batch of both the day before for the photos and kept the long-run version of the watermelon and strawberry smoothie in the fridge ready for Sunday. Only thing was, when I got back I found that my 11 year old son had drunk the lot of the long run version!
Oh well, I just had to make do with the original version and had a couple of cold hard-boiled eggs followed by a banana to make up for it 🙂
Watermelon and Strawberry Smoothie
A delicious and nutritious smoothie to help support a healthy active lifestyle. Add a banana and half a pint of milk to the basic recipe for a perfect post long-run drink.
- 600 g watermelon flesh cubed
- 8 strawberries
- 6 ice cubes optional - see note in post!
- 1 sprig mint optional
Place the ice cubes (if using) in first, then all of the other ingredients in to a blender and whizz until smooth. Don't bother hulling the strawberries, just throw them in whole.
For the long-run version, add a medium banana and 0.5 pint of the milk of your choice to the other ingredients.