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Chapter 8 – Health and Safety

8-1. Nutrition


Fuel the Body for Optimal Performance

As a Soldier, you are expected to achieve and maintain a high level of fitness – physical and mental. This fitness is not only achieved by your training, but also by how you fuel your body. Fueling with the wrong foods will lead to mental and physical fatigue and could play a large part in injuries and illnesses. The right kinds of food can be found in Army dining facilities and in the civilian world—optimal fueling requires a little knowledge, a little restraint, and a dedication to the Army Ethos that you have chosen.

Remember: You can’t “out-exercise” a poor diet.

Fueling with the right amount of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats promotes energy, endurance, stamina, and muscle growth. Benefits of proper fueling include:



What should you load onto your tray?

Your plate should be proportioned like the plate below...Every meal, everyday.



c:\users\jim.rose\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\temporary internet files\content.outlook\1vdaamd1\figure c-1 five food groups mealtime visual.jpg

Five Food groups- Mealtime Visual.

General guidelines are to have:

½ of your plate full of a variety of fruits and vegetables

¼ of your plate composed of complex carbohydrates (starches)

¼ of your plate in the form of protein.

Portion sizes will vary based on your energy needs and performance goals.

Think in terms of the following:

Energy: Fuel your body with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your muscles (especially after high-intensity activities) and the only fuel source for your brain (helps you focus/pay attention). Whole-grain sources have more fiber and vitamins essential for energy metabolism.



Sources: whole-grain breads, cereal and pastas, rice, oatmeal, legumes (beans), and fruit.

Healthy Fats — Unsaturated fats, especially omega fatty acids, can be healthy when eaten in small amounts.



Sources: olives, salmon, walnuts, almonds, flax, and avocados.

Avoid simple sugars (sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup) that may cause a rise in energy, followed by a crash.



Muscles:

Lean proteins provide the amino acids your muscles need to grow, repair, and recover.



Sources: poultry (chicken and turkey), fish, lean beef, and pork; low-fat milk and yogurt; legumes (beans), eggs, and tofu. Nuts and seeds are also a good protein (and healthy fat) source.
Bones:

Strengthen your bones and teeth with foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.



Sources: skim milk; low-fat chocolate milk; yogurt; dark green leafy vegetables; dried beans (examples include black beans or pinto beans) or calcium-fortified juices.

Performance, Repair, and Growth:

Fuel your body with a variety of fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with carbohydrates, natural antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that enhance recovery and support your immune system.

Eat at least 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, with at least 5 of them being brightly colored (red, yellow, green, and orange) to ensure a wide spectrum of nutrients.

One serving is about one cup raw or ½ cup cooked.

Basic guidelines include:


  • Fuel with a variety of foods.

  • Practice moderation in fueling with fried foods, pastries, or high calorie “comfort” foods.

  • Do NOT skip meals

  • The brain and muscles run on carbohydrates—don’t starve them!

  • Ensure that you are consuming water throughout the day.

  • To lose weight, decrease calories while increasing exercise and activity. Keep the proportion of nutrients the same and don’t starve the body. Fuel to lose!

  • To gain weight, slightly increase calorie consumption while starting a resistance training program. You want to gain muscle, not fat!

Be Smart About Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are not the same as sports drinks and should never be used for hydration — cool, plain water should always be a first choice for hydration. Energy drinks generally contain large quantities of caffeine and may contain other ingredients, most of which do absolutely nothing to enhance performance or health. Also, the large quantities of caffeine can actually aggravate dehydration, and may also lead to increased anxiety, upset stomach, shakiness, headaches, and sleep issues.


These potential side effects can actually reduce your ability to perform, NOT enhance it. Instead of reaching for energy drinks, it’s best to feed your body energy throughout the day:

  • Snack on carbohydrates and energy-rich foods such as dried fruits, nuts, trail mix, a commercial sports bar or low-fat chocolate milk.

  • Drink cool, plain water frequently, even if you aren’t thirsty.

Dietary Supplements

Many Soldiers use dietary supplements to enhance their performance or for weight loss. However, dietary supplements are not tested or approved by the FDA prior to market, are often unnecessary, and can be dangerous and expensive. The most commonly tainted dietary supplements are those intended for bodybuilding and weight loss.



Performance, Repair, and Growth

Fuel your body with a variety of fruits and vegetables to obtain the minerals and vitamins necessary for optimal performance.

Choose a variety of colors (red, yellow, orange, green) to ensure a wide spectrum of nutrients. Choose high-fiber foods to help the body extend energy levels.
Cooling

In dining facilities, choose nutrient dense fluids like skim milk, fruit juices, or vegetable juices. Vegetables and fruits also contain high levels of water. Ensure that you are consuming water throughout the day.

Basic guidelines include:


  • Fuel with a variety of foods.

  • Practice moderation in fueling with fried foods, pastries, or high calorie “comfort” foods.

  • Do NOT skip meals.

  • The brain and muscles run on carbohydrates—don’t starve them!

  • To lose weight, decrease calories while increasing exercise and activity. Keep the proportion of nutrients the same and don’t starve the body. Fuel to lose!

  • To gain weight, slightly increase calorie consumption while starting a resistance training program. You want to gain muscle, not fat!

Your dining facility may use the “Go for Green” system to label menu items. Use the “Go for Green” system to help you identify those food and beverage choices best suited to help you achieve your performance goals.

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