BIG Nutrition: Super foods!


BIG Nutrition: Super foods!

When it comes to nutrition, historically the concern was deficiency of vitamins or minerals, and in some cases, this is still relevant (eg, Vitamin D). Ever on the hunt for more headlines, though, news outlets and websites continue focus on a handful of “super” foods and their impact on brain function, heart health, inflammation, and cancer.  

Push aside the headline and what do all of these have in common? Whole, minimally processed food that:

  • Includes a wide variety of colors of whole fruits and vegetables in your meals. The colors are associated with different vitamins, minerals, and other potentially beneficial phytonutrients.
    • So, make sure half of each meal is vegetables and fruits. If your breakfast does not include vegetables, it is important to eat a veggie as part of a snack or double up at a meal.
    • Fruit choices are whole fruits, without added sugar, rather than juice.
  • Contains protein foods that are lean, not fried, approximately the size and thickness of your smart phone. Seven ounces of fish (eg, salmon, tuna, lake trout) each week is encouraged because of their omega-3 fatty acid content. Non-animal sources of protein are encouraged (eg, nuts, beans, peas, and legumes) whenever possible.
  • Selects whole grains (eg, oatmeal, brown rice, farro, barley, quinoa, whole wheat) over refined grains. Starchy vegetables, like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, peas, and corn can also be included. Refined grains are all of the carbs without the nutrients or fiber. For items in packages, choose those with > 3 grams of fiber per serving any with less than that amount of fiber is too refined.
  • Incorporates dairy choices that are low-fat and fortified with vitamin D.
  • Includes a yogurt or other probiotic food daily.

What about fats and sweets?

  • Eating healthy fats, such as extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, or avocado is recommended. They help with absorption of fat soluble vitamins and promote a feeling of satiation!
  • Sweets and treats are best enjoyed sometimes rather than daily because of their limited nutrient content.

Can this approach really support the needs of someone who engages in CrossFit? Yes! Evidence continues to support that athletes (both serious and amateurs) need a wide variety of foods for health and athletic performance. Recipes to get you on your way are here.

Happy and healthful eating,


Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

Questions? Contact me at [email protected].

Nutrition Services are available for BIG Members (@ 30% discount) and the Community. More information is listed here.