I know what your thinking vegetables are either gross or the best thing around, Its quite peculiar to see that there is such a large divide between those who love there vegetables and those that really dont!
Where do you stand when it comes to vegetables?
I personally love them but there was a time I could have pushed them to the side of my plate and left them for the compost bin. It wasn’t until I understood how important these multicolored nutritionally beneficial earth grown super-foods are to our health that they became a staple on the plate.
Before I give you the three tips to add more to your plate even if you are a vegetable agnostic lets dive a little deeper into some of the Facts of the Grand vegetable.
Vegetables contain phytochemicals and contain many diverse and important micronutrients necessary for function of bodily systems and deeper health, Athletes need a higher intake of micronutrients especially those involved in energy metabolism and muscle function, blood health, antioxidant and immune function than non- athlete’s.
Athletes most at risk are those following a calorie restricted diet with fewer calories or restricting certain food groups, females being especially susceptible to this as females tend to eat less than males.
Most common deficiency’s in athletes are but not limited to
- Vitamin D
- The antioxidant nutrients
- ( Vitamin C and E, Zinc and possibly beta carotene and selenium)
I know what most are thinking a fully plant based diet would be optimal then right? In Ernest plant Based diets are unlikely to supply enough calcium, Vitamin B12, Iron or Zinc without dietary planning to improve bioavailability or by using fortified foods ( Weetabix is an example)
If you partake in Cross-fit primarily as this is an acute strenuous exercise it increases oxidative stress and with it the production of free radicals, which in turn damage cells and tissues. hence there is a exaggeration in the consumption of necessary antioxidant food groups to help combat the effects, taking a supplement us unlikely to cause any increase in effective oxidative measures.
I personally prescribe a whole food approach to correct submaximal micronutrient deficiency’s, as using foods rather than supplements increases nutritional bioavailability.
So now we have a clearer view on why there is an importance in the need to consume vegetables as part of a good solid nutrition program, lets dive into my 3 ways to consume more vegetables
1. Add them to your meal prep
This one is my favorite way of adding vegetables into my diet and makes sure im at least getting some vegetable on my plate, for example when I meal prep my minced beef or chicken, ill add in a very good portion of vegetables to the dish.
When I serve them up through the week a good portion of vegetables are already included on my plate, this makes sure even if im busy my foods cover most of my bases.
SET YOURSELF UP SO YOU CANT FAIL, SMALL STEPS = BIG CHANGES
2. Blend them up
This is a great way of adding in some vegetables if you dont really like the taste or consistency of them, I often prescribe to my busy clients a Super shake a nutritionally dense shake pre made for the office or on the drive so they can make sure they hit there goals for the day in an easy to ingest shale that can be carried anywhere, most often we tend to head for the poor foods if we haven’t planned ahead to make good choices.
My recipe for a Super shake ( Try this out next time you have a busy day or just want to add in more vegetables into your diet )
- 350ml water or apple juice
- 1 medium banana
- 1 kiwi
- 35g whey protein (any flavor but vanilla is a great choice here)
- handful of spinach
- handful of kale
- 1/4 an avocado
Blend and enjoy
3. Plan ahead
I’ve saved this one till last as it does require you to have some systems in place to make sure your consistent, this way is just like meal prep but you prepare your vegetables, into bags or containers in the fridge ready to add to your meals or microwave along side your dinner, an other easier option would be to buy the pre prepared versions but you have to be weary as most of these have hidden calories or extras that can keep you from obtaining your goals.
A lot of the time enjoying your vegetables can come down to the way they are prepared, You dont just have to boil them to death or microwave them all the time dont forget – Grilling, Roasting, flame grilled, fried (in butter or avo oil)
So there we have it 3 ways to add more vegetables into your diet
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