Vegetables in Your Sports Nutrition Plan

Include vegetables in your everyday sports nutrition plan for women.

  • Are all veggies whole foods?

  • Fresh forms are considered whole foods. Frozen are pretty close (and convenient). Canned types and veggie juices have lost some nutrition in processing, including fiber, and the sodium content is higher.

  • Am I eating enough veggies?

  • The current recommendation is at least 2 cups everyday.

  • What is a serving size?

  • 1 cup fresh or ½ cup cooked or juice. More specifically, about 5 grams of carbohydrate equals a veggie serving. Steaming or microwaving are the best ways to preserve the nutrients while cooking veggies.

  • Will organic veggies give me an edge?

  • Organic foods are grown without pesticides and fertilizers, so you get to skip that garbage. The term organic does not guarantee higher nutrition in the food. Overall, organics are a fine idea if available and affordable, but they might not give you any immediate performance advantages.

  • How will veggies impact my training?

  • Vegetables provide useful carbohydrates for energy. The fiber content should be monitored for tolerance around training and performance time. Vitamin C and other antioxidants are valuable in cell protection and tissue recovery. The potassium is needed for fluid balance, nerve and muscle function, and efficient use of carbs for energy. The sodium content of canned veggies and veggie juices may help you get the extra sodium needed after training in hot, humid weather, but are not the best choices for everyday use in the off season.

  • How will veggies impact my lifetime fitness?

  • Veggies are a good source of dietary fiber. A woman needs about 25 grams of fiber everyday. Certain fibers aid in digestion, while others help regulate blood cholesterol and blood sugars. Slowly increase your fiber intake over time so your body can adjust to all the benefits without the gassy side-effects. This food group is rich in phytonutrients (plant nutrients) which have been linked to many physical body benefits. Choose the many different colors of veggies for a variety of these phytochemicals. Listen to your mama and eat your veggies!

    It's time to set a sports nutrition goal for vegetables.
    Return to whole foods in sports nutrition.