Raw Cacao Smoothie & Pre-Workout Fuel

By Alexandra Caspero on March 3, 2014

Let’s pretend for a moment that the recipe I am about to share with you is not a chocolate milkshake. It tastes like a milkshake, it looks like a milkshake but it is not an actual milkshake.

No, this creamy, chocolate, thick-as-mud shake is actually a blend of frozen banana, coconut milk, almonds and cacao powder. But you can call it a chocolate milkshake if you prefer.

I’ve been enjoying this raw cacao smoothie before our weekend long runs and it’s the perfect zip of fuel that I need. Only two more weeks until our 1/2 marathon and I am really excited to see what impact our training will have on our race times. Although our weekday runs haven’t changed much, we’ve gradually increased our weekend runs by 1-2 miles each week. While the small increases haven’t been too challenging, it’s a nice way to try and keep my pace consistent with each added mile, a fun little game I play with myself and Map My Run.

For these runs, I need a little something extra before hand to keep me going. A few bad runs have convinced me that while I may not need to eat before I run 3 miles, the story’s not the same past the 90 minute mark. Enter this shake smoothie. It’s the perfect blend of simple carbohydrates with a little protein and healthy fat for balance. Smoothies are my prefered pre-workout food since they digest easily and don’t weigh me down. That’s part of the reason I typically forgo fuel before me weekday workouts, I would rather feel hungry than full. If you’re looking for more ideas on pre-workout fuel, my list of favorites are here.cacao

What’s your favorite pre-workout meal?


Raw Cacao Smoothie


This creamy, chocolate, thick-as-mud shake is actually a blend of frozen banana, coconut milk, almonds and cacao powder. 



  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp. natural cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp. 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (I love Silk brand)
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds


  1. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
  2. If you want it more icy, add a few ice cubes to the blender.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Joanne
      March 4, 2014 AT 7:17 am

      I would TOTALLY call this a milkshake! And then have it for dessert. And it will make my day.

    2. nancy
      March 3, 2014 AT 11:22 pm

      yes to almond milk! You can replace the coconut milk and will be just as yummy!

    3. Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog
      March 3, 2014 AT 12:58 pm

      Sounds delicious. My go-to pre-run fuel is usually toast with peanut butter, but this smoothie sounds so much better. Do you think it would turn out okay with almond milk instead of coconut milk? I just usually have almond milk on hand and that’s not always the case with coconut milk.

      1. nancy
        March 3, 2014 AT 11:19 pm

        Sounds yummy I also use smoothies before runs and after long runs. Glad you are gradually increasing your miles, you will do great!

        1. DK
          March 4, 2014 AT 5:05 pm

          Thanks Nancy!

    4. Laura P
      March 3, 2014 AT 10:57 am

      This looks fabulous. I’m training for a half marathon myself and this sounds like a great snack to try before my long runs.