I don’t like sports drinks. Too much added sugar (rather than natural sugars from real foods), too much sodium, and not enough good nutrients to really fuel my body.

If you’re wasting calories—and money—on store-bought energy drinks, I urge you to try these quick-and-nutritious power drinks.

These recipes all include an ingredient you don’t often find in smoothie recipes: Seeds. I love seeds. They are a great way to add a burst of fiber, healthy fats and protein to any meal, making these little nuggets a perfect tool in helping you stay satisfied so you see more weight loss.

• Hemp. Even though these are grown on the cannabis plant, they won’t alter your mind in any adverse ways. These little guys are rich in heart-healthy, stroke-reducing omega-3 fatty acids, and two tablespoons provide five grams of nearly complete protein, which is unusual for plant proteins. Hemp seeds have also been linked to reducing ADHD symptoms and alleviating skin issues such as eczema.

• Flaxseed. This seed’s benefits come from the fact that they are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. One tablespoon gives you 150 mg of antioxidants, two grams of fiber, and two grams of healthy fats (including omega-3s). I always recommend ground flaxseed because it’s easier for your body to digest than whole seeds.

• Chia. You don’t have to buy a chia pet to reap the benefits of chia. These seeds were the original energy food, consumed by the Aztecs to boost stamina. They provide five grams of fiber per tablespoon and are also high in omega-fatty acids.

• Sunflower. This seed is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects you from asthma, osteoarthritis, hot flashes, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds supplies more than 80% of your recommended daily allotment of vitamin E.

• Pumpkin. I don’t tend to use pumpkin seeds in smoothies, but since I’m talking about the other seeds, I wanted to at least give pumpkin seeds an honorable mention. Also called pepitas, pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc (10.5 mg in 3.5 ounces) when you buy the unshelled form. A quarter cup provides nearly half your daily magnesium, and this seed is also rich in antioxidants that protect you from cancer. Roast them and throw into your salads.

A note about coconut water: This clear liquid from inside young, green coconuts has fewer calories, less sodium and sugar, and more potassium than sports drinks. Since it is not a heavy dairy liquid, it works perfectly in my power drinks, as you’ll see in some of the recipes below. It does have some sugar and calories, so you don’t want to guzzle it. Instead, use it prudently. When shopping, look for raw coconut water.

Tip: Put coconut water in your ice tray and freeze to add to drinks.

For all of these recipes, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add water if necessary for desired consistency. Each recipe is one serving.


Watermelon is a great thirst quencher, and even though it is 92% water, it gives you a giant dose of glutathione, an antioxidant that has been shown to boost your immune system.

1 cup watermelon chunks
8 raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup coconut water
½ Tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 Tablespoon lime or lemon juice

Per serving: 200 calories, 2.8 g fat, 43.2 g carbs, 14.3 g fiber, 23.2 g sugars, 5.3 g protein


This drink is a fully packed powerful protein breakfast, with plenty of fiber, protein and calcium (84% of daily needs) to get you started off right in the morning.

1 banana
1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chia seeds
4 ice cubes

Per serving: 335 calories, 11.3 g fat, 35.9 g carbs, 7.9 g fiber, 17.1 g sugars, 24.8 g protein


1 mango (½ cup)
1 dime-size slice of ginger
½ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup coconut water
1 teaspoon chia seeds

Per serving: 232 calories, 4.1 g fat, 34.7 g carbs, 6.4 g fiber, 28.1 g sugars, 14.8 g protein


1 plum, pitted
1 kiwi, peeled
10 blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons hemp seeds

Per serving: 269 calories, 13.6 g fat, 32.3 g carbs, 7.5 g fiber, 19.2 g sugars, 9.5 g protein


½ banana
1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup pineapple
1 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons lime juice
½ cup water
¼ cup sunflower seeds

Per serving: 359 calories, 7.2 g fat, 77.5 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 45.5 g sugars, 7 g protein, 30% RDA for iron

Check out Joel Harper’s website, or click here to buy his book, Mind Your Body: 4 Weeks to a Leaner, Healthier Life.

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