Food Diaries: How CrossFitter Catelyn Nelson Refuels After Intense Workouts

The former competitive swimmer shares the meals she whips up to help her body recover.

Like many CrossFitters, Catelyn Nelson was a former competitive athlete, a swimmer, who missed her intense daily workouts after graduating. “CrossFit works for me because the workouts are different every day and are short, but intense,” Nelson says. And she needs her workouts to be quick, especially as a technology consultant in DC with long working hours.

Nelson trains at Patriot CrossFit in Arlington four or fives time a week, but also makes sure to throw in one non-CrossFit workout each week, such as running, swimming, or tennis. Her food diary below shows how she eats a mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates with every meal (though she admits she likes to splurge on weekends).

Breakfast: “After a morning workout, I like to get a balance of protein and starch, which both help with refueling and recovering. This morning I had three scrambled eggs with spinach and tomato, mashed yam with cinnamon, and a protein shake. I always keep hardboiled eggs in the fridge for mornings when I don’t have enough time to make a fresh omelet. The starch in the yam helps me stay full throughout the morning and fully recover for the next workout. I always feel sluggish in the gym during the weeks I forget to pick up a yam or sweet potato at the grocery store.”

Lunch: “I typically pack my lunch to bring to work—a salad with protein and some vegetables or a piece of fruit. Today I mixed tuna, avocado, and some spices and put it over a tomato and spinach salad. Avocado makes a great replacement for mayonnaise in a tuna salad—it adds more flavor and better fats to your diet. I also keep almonds and carrots at work in case I get hungry for a snack in the afternoon.”

Dinner: “I’m the first to admit I am not a great cook in the traditional sense, but anyone can sauté anything. Sautéing your choice of meat and vegetables in a pan with some olive oil makes for a quick, healthy, delicious dinner. Tonight I picked shrimp and broccoli, topped with sea salt, garlic powder, and a handful of pistachios. An easy guideline for dinner is a fist-size portion of protein with colorful vegetables covering the rest of your plate.”

Note: “I did not photograph my beverages for the day, but I drink about eight liters of water a day and a cup or two of black coffee.”

To see how other health experts and athletes eat for a day, visit Well+Being’s Food Diaries page.

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