What is the best CrossFit diet? Is it a back-to-basics approach with the Paleo Diet? Should you focus on fats with the Keto Diet? Or is it best to cut out all animal products to maximize CrossFit results?
Due to medical restrictions, digestive abilities, and dietary preferences, no single diet will be universally ideal for every person on the planet.
Below, you’ll find the healthiest foods from every category that have been shown to maximize your health as well as your recovery after a CrossFit workout.
You can pick and choose from these lists to craft your personalized CrossFit diet – with the help of your doctor or nutritionist, of course.
Meat, Poultry, Fish and CrossFit
Protein is an essential part on any active individual’s diet. Protein is broken down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of lean muscle tissue.
Amino acids have been shown to promote recovery, increase muscle size and strength, and support weight management. Animal-based foods are the best sources of complete proteins.
I’d recommend focusing the majority of your CrossFit diet on fish and poultry while eating red meats and dairy sparingly as both have been shown to be tough on the digestive system.
- Meats (grass-fed): Bison, lamb, beef
- Fish (preferably wild): Salmon, tuna
- Bone broth: cow, chicken
- Milk (grass-fed, no hormones added): Whole milk
- Yogurt (no sugar added): Greek
- Supplements: Grass-fed whey isolate
Grains and CrossFit
Although low carbohydrate diets are very trendy right now, they are not for everyone. Those who are focused on building a lot of muscle mass or who are high performance athletes might require carbohydrates for recovery and results.
Grains contain complex carbohydrates, which slowly breakdown over the course of hours sparing you that crash and fatigue that is common with simple carbohydrates such as white rice and sugar. Grains also contain fiber, which is a great way to support proper digestion.
- Quinoa (a blend of red, black, and white is best)
- Black or wild rice
- Whole oats (not instant oatmeal)
Nuts and Seeds and CrossFit
Great as a quick snack, nuts and seeds contain essential fatty acids that are helpful for brain development, recovery, and overall health. Nuts and seeds are also packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Not all nuts and seeds are created equal. For example, peanuts are not actually nuts but legumes. What’s more, they are highly susceptible to mold so steer clear of them. Here’s a list of the best nuts and seeds to include in your CrossFit diet.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds (hemp protein powder is also excellent)
- Sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts
Oils and CrossFit
Dietary fat once had a bad reputation with many so-called experts pointing the finger at it for causing heart disease.
Modern research has revealed the importance of dietary fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids are key for brain development, detoxification, and cell protection. Unless specifically instructed by your doctor, it’s important to eat healthy fats each day.
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Walnut oil
- Sunflower oil
Vegetables and CrossFit
If you’re on a low-carbohydrate diet, vegetables might be your only source of carbs.
High in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and fiber, vegetables should have an important place on your dinner plate.
Focus your diet on dark leafy green and cruciferous vegetables as they seem to have the highest concentration of nutrients.
While trendy diets such as the Carnivore Diet have sworn off vegetables, it’s important to keep in mind that there are decades of research showing the benefits of vegetables while trendy diets have no science to back them up.
- Purple cabbage
Fruits and CrossFit
Fruits are also chock full of micronutrients and fiber, but they need to be eaten sparingly due to the sugar content within.
With that said, if you’re craving something sweet, a piece of fruit will always be a better choice than a piece of chocolate cake.
Stick with low sugar fruits like berries and consider adding vegetables when making fruit smoothies in the morning.
- Lemons and limes
What CrossFit Diet Do You Follow?
Are you a CrossFitter? Do you follow a specific diet? Or do you eat the most nutritious foods from all categories?
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