Sports Nutrition 101:
Go Green in 2016!

Provided by Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine Dietician

Most athletes don’t get enough fruits and vegetables in their day. Your body needs vitamins and minerals provided in fruits and vegetables to help boost your metabolism and recover. Many people tend to think of juicing or cleanses when someone mentions eating more “green” foods. However, it’s important to consider “going green” as including more produce in general.

Athletes need more calories in their day and cannot afford to only drink special “juices." By increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed in your daily diet, energy and recovery levels improve, too! Each color of fruit or vegetable provides different combinations of vitamins and/or minerals, so it’s important to include all colors.

Hydration levels also increase when consuming more fruit and vegetables! Fruit and vegetables are made up of water along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, helping you to recover from exercise, clear-up skin and stay focused.

So how can you start including more “green” foods in your daily routine?

1. Hide veggies in other foods that you already like
    a. Try spinach or kale in smoothies – it’s tasteless!
    b. Chop up veggies to add to an omelet
    c. Try making fries or spiralizing with zucchini, sweet potato or carrots
    d. Fold spinach or arugula into casseroles
    e. Put diced bell pepper, onion, and mushroom in your ground meat mix for burgers

2. Prepare them in creative ways
    a. Roasted veggies: Cut them up, drizzle/toss them toss in olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper,     and put them on a foil lined pan in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.
    b. Stir fry or sautee: Throw slices of your favorite green in a pan with some oil on medium-high     heat for about five minutes until they become soft and lighter in color.
    c. Grill: Place asparagus, carrots, etc., into a foil pouch with olive oil and seasonings. Toss onto the     grill while your meat or other food is cooking.

3. Increase the fun factor
    a. Corn on the cob
    b. Veggie kabobs
    c. Celery sticks with PB or cream cheese
    d. Stuffed bell peppers
    e. Stuffed Portobello mushrooms
    f. Dip them – hummus, guacamole, bean dip

4. Jump on the cauliflower craze train
    a. Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes
    b. Cauliflower pizza crust instead of flour crust

5. Try easy & new recipes
    a. Make “chips” with kale or chard: Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite-size     pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.     Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.
    b. Chop strawberries and walnuts and sprinkle them over a bed of fresh spinach for a
    delicious salad.
    c. Find lots of ideas on social media by searching the name of your favorite green!