Don't like many veggies?
Because fruits and vegetables offer similar nutrients, you can swap one for the other. That is, if you don't enjoy red tomatoes, at least try to have red strawberries, red apples or red peppers. In general, you want to consume a variety of colors of fruits and/or veggies—and enjoy a rainbow of health:
Red: strawberries, apples, watermelon, tomato
Orange: oranges, mango, papaya, sweet potato
Yellow: pineapple, peaches, summer squash
Blue/Purple: blueberry, plums, eggplant, purple grapes
Green: kiwi, honeydew melon, green grapes, broccoli, spinach, kale, peppers
White: banana, onion, potato, cauliflower
But they rot...
Many athletes live alone, rarely cook, and get tired of wasting money tossing out rotten produce. If that's your case, some solutions include:
- Buy bags of frozen vegetables and fruits (freezing retains the nutrients); even canned ones are nourishing.
- Buy the desired portion of greens and other salad (or stir-fry) ingredients at the salad bar. Instead of buying a whole head of lettuce, of which half might end up rotting in your refrigerator, buy just what you need.
- Cook enough veggies for several days. For example, bake several sweet potatoes at once, or make a big pot of ratatouille with eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and onion.
Can I eat too many fruits and vegetables?
Doubtful, unless you eat them to the exclusion of other foods. For example:
- If your dinner is just rice with stir-fried veggies (no tofu, chicken, or protein-rich food), the meal lacks adequate protein to build and repair muscles. Solution: Either add a protein, include a glass of milk with the meal, or enjoy Greek yogurt for dessert.
- If you follow a Paleo-type diet and eat just protein and veggies for meals (no grain), your meal could easily lack adequate carbs to refuel from hard exercise. Solution: include starchy root vegetables, such as carrots and beets.
- If you are a vegetarian and prepare pasta with just tomato sauce (no meatballs), the meal lacks protein. Solution: choose protein-enriched pasta and add a salad with beans, nuts, extra cheese.
- If you are dieting without success, you might be consuming more calories than you realize from yet-another handful of grapes. That (large) apple might have 150 calories, as does the bag of baby carrots. While the calories are healthful and preferable to cookies, they still count. Fruits and veggies tend to be "guilt-free" but they are not totally "calorie-free."