Fueling the Female Shooter

Try these delicious drinks to keep you performing your best at the range.

by posted on December 3, 2020

Whether shooting recreationally or competitively, certain nutrients can help you perform your best at the range. For example, fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A and C are key to supporting eye health, which is critical for good aim. Protein-rich foods supply the body with both physical and mental energy, perfect for a long day at the range. Healthy fats support your heart and keep you feeling full longer. A well-balanced smoothie can help you stay nutritionally sound, and can give you that extra performance edge at the range.

Pack in protein. This time of year, we’re extra busy decorating, holiday shopping, mailing Christmas cards, etc.—on top of the fact that the holidays are upon us during a pandemic! With all this stress, it’s easy to push healthy eating to the side. “Smoothies are a great way to pack in multiple food groups while on the go,” says Whitney Linsenmeyer, PhD, RD, LD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University. “Make sure to add a good protein source for energy, because smoothies with just fruit and fruit juice can sometimes leave you feeling hungry soon after. Skip the protein powders, which often have added sugars or unwanted ingredients.”  

Here’s an easy formula for a protein-packed smoothie. Before you begin, wash your hands. 

1 cup of chopped frozen fruit (berries, pineapple, mango, etc.)
1 cup leafy greens (spinach, kale)
½ cup plain Greek yogurt 
½-1 cup liquid (depending on your preferred thickness—think 100% fruit juice, coconut water or milk) 
Optional 2 Tbsp. of nut/seed additions (peanut butter, almond butter, chia seeds) 
Optional handful of ice cubes if you want it extra cold

This will provide upwards of 15 grams of protein, healthy omega-3 fatty acids and plenty of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and potassium.

Make it tropical. Anyone who’s ever tried to shoot at a target knows that good eyesight is critical for accuracy. Vitamin A is key for good vision. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, papayas provide vitamin A through an especially potent form of beta-carotene for eye health. In fact, the form of beta-carotene in papayas may be even easier for our bodies to absorb than the kind in carrots or tomatoes.

Papaya Smoothie  


  • 1 papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Toss in spinach. You read right—spinach. Popeye was on to something, because spinach is jam-packed with vitamin A. It’s also a good source of immune-supporting vitamin C, , which is especially important now that we’re in the middle of COVID-19 and cold and flu season. Spinach also contains vitamin K to help build strong bones, as well as folate and iron, which help prevent anemia. This green leafy powerhouse is also a good source of magnesium, which supports literally hundreds of chemical reactions in your body such as muscle movement (especially helpful if you’re participating in an International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) match).

Berries and Spinach Smoothie


  • 2 cups frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 banana cut in chunks
  • ½ kiwi, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • ½ cup 100% apple juice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Swirl in strawberries. Fresh, juicy strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, an antioxidant that may help lower your risk of cataracts and support immunity. Note: Other foods rich in vitamin C include acerola cherries, guavas, bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, grapefruit and cantaloupe.

Summer Breeze Smoothie


  • 1 cup yogurt, plain, nonfat
  • 6 medium strawberries
  • 1 cup pineapple, crushed, canned in juice
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Stay hydrated.
Shooting takes a high degree of mental concentration, especially if you are a competitor. Studies show that even moderate dehydration can decrease mental performance and concentration. Dehydration can also have a negative impact on hand-eye-target coordination. If you’re shooting in the summertime, you can become dehydrated very quickly. It’s still a problem in cold weather, as early symptoms of dehydration are easily missed.

.A good tip is to consume a lot of water before you get thirsty. You want to build up the amount of fluid in your body before you need it. If you feel thirsty, you are already in the beginning stages of dehydration.

So how much water should you drink? Experts advise to divide your body weight in half and drink at least an ounce per pound of body weight throughout a typical day. This amount should then be adjusted for the day's activity level and outside temperature. Cucumber, watermelon, coconut water and ice cubes are easy smoothie add-ins that will aid in hydration.

Reach for pineapple juice. This sweet juice contains an enzyme called bromelain, which triggers your body's ability to fight pain and reduce swelling. After you have been shooting all day, especially if you participate in IDPA, or other types of sport shooting that involves a lot of movement, cap off the day with a pineapple smoothie.

Make it cherries. Shotgun make your shoulder sore? Tart cherry juice has gained attention recently for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Recent research has shown that tart cherry juice may be just as effective, if not more effective, than popular drugs that are most commonly used to treat inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

¾ cup tart cherry juice
1 cup frozen pineapple
½ cup baby spinach
½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

About the Author: Maureen Sangiorgio is an NRA Certified Firearm Instructor/Range Safety Officer. She can be reached directly at maureenwriter.com.





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