Include at least 20-30g of protein, 1/2 - 1 cup grains or small potato and at least 15-20g fat (ex. avocado, nuts, seeds, oil, cheese) with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies.
A few handfuls dark leafy greens
Unlimited veggies and fruit
1 cup quinoa or barley
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup cubed avocado
4 ounce chicken or fish OR 4 ounce tempeh OR 1/2 cup edamame and 1/2 cup cottage cheese
A time saver for busy athletes is prepping these ingredients ahead of time so that you can put together a salad in less than 5 minutes, every day, and you don't have to chop and dice the same produce every day.
Same goes for grains, potatoes and protein. Prepare a few go-to items ahead of time so it's easy to put together a meal.
Turn your refrigerator into a salad bar for easy meal prep.
Depending on the day, your salad could be hot or cold.
It's important to eat vegetables throughout the day but depending on your workout schedule, some athletes may be better off with steamed or cooked veggies at dinner instead of raw veggies specifically if you have an evening workout before dinner or struggle with GI issues early morning after you eat a high fiber dinner meal the night prior.
If you just can't eat a salad for lunch due to having to eat with your hands and not with utensils (or having to eat a catered lunch), opt for a pita or sandwich with a protein of your choice and combine with a bag/Tupperware container of mixed raw veggies (ex. celery, cucumber, baby tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, peppers, etc.). You can either dip your veggies in a hummus or avocado dip or add cheese, avocado or hummus to your sandwich/pita.
Plus, every bite of a salad is packed with vitamins and minerals which is important to supporting your immune system health.