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Homemade Recovery Drink

I have been experimenting with a homemade recovery drink that is easy to put together, meets the basic nutritional requirements of a recovery option and is economical. This is my latest choice and somewhat successful if I do say so myself.

I have had a passion for recovery nutrition, and in particular food and dairy based options, since I completed my first venture into research. My honours thesis was trialing chocolate milk on rugby players and assessing it’s effect on recovery. While my results failed to show much beyond grown men loving Steri Stumpi more than Energade or flavoured water, other researchers have had more success and both the theory and application of using food based nutrition strategies to optimise recovery is sound.

Essentially most recovery shakes or supplements will use whey or casein based protein (derived from milk) or a mixture of these with another form of protein. Much concern exists at the moment for the safe use of supplements and as a result foods are advised as a better choice. Add to this the fact that whole foods still contain other nutrients that may benefit your health and it is a much preferred option. Then throw in the cost of certain supplements and achieving the correct nutrition in a safe, effective and economical way is mighty difficult.

I always advise on food based recovery options for clients that will aim to provide 20 g of good quality (high leucine) protein along with the individuals need for carbohydrate. The latter amount may vary depending on your training or sport as well as other factors like body composition goals. I know from scouring the aisles of Woolies, Pick n Pay and Dischem that even this can be challenging. Having an option that can be tailored and adjusted as necessary seems like a good starting point. And this is it: The Homemade Chocolate Milk Recovery Drink.

Homemade Recovery Drink


60 g skimmed milk powder (vitamin A and D fortified)
20-40 g castor sugar 
5 g cocoa powder
450-700 ml water
Nutritional Info: protein 21 g (leucine 2.1 g, total BCAA 4.9 g), carbohydrate 41-61 g, fat 1.7 g

The instructions are easy, add the ingredients and mix well. Choosing the right amount of sugar to add will depend on the issues I highlighted earlier. A simple resistance session or intermittent type team sport might only need the lower range (for 40 g carbohydrate) where a heavy or endurance based session might need the top end (for 60 g carbohydrate). The volume of water added will vary accordingly and is aimed at giving an 8% carbohydrate solution to assist absorption. You can play around with it to suit your taste too. You can also flavour your drink of choice with other options such as various essences or extracts like vanilla.  My favourite is always chocolate though!

One serving of this drink will cost you about R 7.50, so it is super economical. This price is based on my Pick n Pay shop for the ingredients you can see in the picture. Buying in bulk would naturally bring this cost per serving down too.

Obviously other elements such as your training goal or body composition concerns need to be considered when planning your perfect recovery option.  Certain situations will require a meal or snack with similar nutritional value to be repeated every 2 to 4 hours to get the best recovery. Don’t forget that the remainder of your diet is as important in being successful too. Chat to a dietician or specialist in the area to work out your needs and help you get on the right track.

Train hard, eat well.


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