8 Foods Every Crossfitter should Include in their Diet

Unless you want to turn into an obese mess there is a limited amount of food you can eat in a single day. For optimal health and performance it makes sense to eat the foods that have the greatest amount and variety of nutrients.

Every time you eat it is an opportunity to take you closer to your goals.

CrossFit places huge demands on the body so it is imperative that you support your training by eating the correct foods. The list of foods below have been put together based on the inflammation factor, the ORAC scale, Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) rating and the Naturally Nutrient Rich (NNR) score.

Regardless whether you want to put on muscle, lose fat or just fuel for performance, making these foods a regular part of your diet will help you achieve your goals.

GARLIC

Besides adding huge amounts of flavour to most meals, garlic really is a nutritional powerhouse. It ranks high on the anti – inflammatory scale, contains high levels of manganese, selenium and vitamin C, has been linked to improved cardiovascular health and can help lower oxidative stress.

How to use –

  • Simply add chopped or crushed garlic to most of your meals when cooking.
  • Another great way is to roast a whole bulb of garlic in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.

SPICES: CINNAMON, TUMERIC, CLOVES, CUMIN

Crossfit foods: tumeric
Crossfit foods: tumeric is peppery, warm and bitter, and is great for your health as well

Spices and herbs are at the top of all of the healthiest foods on the planet. Simply put these four offer the most benefit with regard to lowering inflammation, boosting recovery and improving overall health. I cannot stress the importance of adding these into your nutrition plan! The issue is getting enough of them to reap the benefits that are stated in the research. So use these tips to help you to start dropping some spice bombs –

How to use – 

  • Make marinades
  • Add to smoothies
  • Make stews and chillis
  • Add to stir frys
  • Make tumeric or chai tea
  • Add to vegetables when roasting

BERRIES

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of colourful berries?!? Berries are regularly touted as a superfood and for good reason. They are full on anthocyanins, fibre, polyphenols and vitamins which help supercharge your recovery. Berries can be eaten anytime but may be of particular use when you are in an intense training cycle and need all the support you can get.

How to use – 

  • Add to your breakfast – on top of greek yoghurt/porridge/protein pancakes
  • Blended in a smoothie – using frozen berries is a cost effective way of buying them and reducing waste
  • Add to your meals – berries go really well with game meat such as venison
Berries
Berries help with recovery and are full of fibre and vitamins

COCONUT OIL

Adding coconut oil into your daily nutrition is a great idea for all CrossFitters. The benefits of coconut oil include –

  • Increased energy
  • Improved digestion
  • Lowering inflammation
  • Lowering oxidative stress
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved fat burning

If you train early in the morning, are on a low carbohydrate diet or you are vegan then coconut oil should be a staple in your daily nutrition. A large portion of coconut oil is made up from saturated fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s). These are metabolised differently than other saturated fats and are subsequently used more rapidly as an energy source. Use these tips to increase your consumption at the correct times –

How to use – 

  • Blend with coffee or matcha green tea for a pre-workout drink
  • Use to cook with – stir frys, sautéing, roasting.
  • Substitute for other ingredients in baked goods

WILD FISH

Providing protein, essential fatty acids and vitamin D, wild fish should be staple in a CrossFitters diet. CrossFit can cause significant muscle damage which leads to increased inflammation in the body. Protein, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D are all essential for muscle recovery. Wild fish is a superior to farmed fish as they have higher levels of these nutrients and lower levels of toxic compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Smaller oily fish such as sardines and anchovies are a great choice as they have shorter life spans so don’t have the time to build up toxic load.

How to use – 

  • Trying to eat fish 5-6 times per week is advised
  • Wild salmon (sockeye), trout, sardines are great as a main meal – simply roasted with lemon and garlic
  • Tinned sardines and anchovies are great option as an afternoon snack

SPIRULINA

So wild fish have high levels of health boosting omega 3 fatty acids – where do they get this from – yep – algae. Spirulina and its close neighbour Chlorella are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Compared to any other plant, spirulina has the highest concentration of antioxidants in the world, the highest concentration of beta carotene in the world and can support healthy gut bacteria. And if that isn’t enough it contains over 40 vitamins and minerals despite having only one calorie per serving. When it comes to boosting CrossFit performance Spirulina provides iron, nitric oxide, has high levels of B-Vitamins that can support endurance gainz! It really does deserve the label of super-food.

How to use – 

  • To really reap the benefits you need to be consuming around 4-6g per day.
  • My recommendation is to use a mix of tablets and powder.
  • Add the powder into smoothies or shakes and take your tablets with main meals.
Spirulina
Spirulina has an incredibly high concentration of antitoxidants

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

At least one serving of broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale or cabbage should be on your plate or in your smoothie daily. Containing high levels of fibre, folate, b-vitamins, vitamin C and compounds to help remove toxins, cruciferous veggies regularly top the lists of the healthiest foods in the world. We know that the intense nature of CrossFit can lead to increased inflammation in the body. We also know that green veg can lower inflammation levels and reduce oxidative stress, allowing you to keep coming back for more!

How to use – 

  • Soups are a great way to get different veg into your nutrition plan. Curried cauliflower, green thai chicken and broccoli or pesto supergreen soup are some great options
  • Adding greens into smoothies is also recommended. Blending kale and broccoli into a smoothie containing almond butter, chocolate protein, cacao powder, almond milk and avocado will provide a huge dose of nutrients to supercharge your CrossFit performance.

BEETROOT

To be an excellent CrossFit athlete you have to get good at more than just weightlifting. Endurance performance is often an area in which people struggle. Beetroot supplies a huge dose of nitric oxide and iron which are required for optimal aerobic performance. Research has shown that it can improve time to exhaustion for rowers and running. Interestingly benefits have been noted following a single bolus, as well as daily consumption.

How to use – 

  • Beetroot can be added to salads, roasted with other veg or grated into chillis and stews.
  • Add to a smoothie with some protein powder or amino acids for a great pre workout drink.
  • Beetroot brownies are also an awesome treat to whip up
  • My suggestion is to use as a side dish – roasted rosemary beetroot and carrots goes very well with lamb or beef.

Incorporating these foods into your diet as often as possible will supercharge your health, recovery and performance. AND BE CREATIVE!


Images:

Tumeric  Healthy © Food House

Berries Medical © Daily

Spirulina © Healthy Food House


Crossfit foods: tumeric ©

Berries ©

Spirulina ©

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About The Author

I am a performance nutritionist with over 9 years experience working in elite sport. My experience ranges from working with elite footballers, CrossFit athletes and power lifters to helping the general public reach their goals through nutrition coaching. Greg Glassman put nutrition at the base of the CrossFit pyramid, this shows you how important nutrition is!

Having originally trained in Sports Therapy, I completed an MSc in Exercise and ...

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