In addition to exercise, proper nutrition plays a major role in attaining and maintaining total fitness. Good dietary habits greatly enhance the ability of soldiers to perform at their maximum potential. A good diet alone, however, will not make up for poor health and exercise habits. This chapter gives basic nutritional guidance for enhancing physical performance. Soldiers must know and follow the basic nutrition principles if they hope to maintain weight control as well as achieve maximum physical fitness, good health, and mental alertness.
Guidelines for Healthy Eating
Eating a variety of foods and maintaining an energy balance are basic guidelines for a healthy diet. Good nutrition is not complicated for those who understand these dietary guidelines. To be properly nourished, soldiers should regularly eat a wide variety of foods from the major food groups, selecting a variety of foods from within each group. (See Figure 6-2.) A well balanced diet provides all the nutrients needed to keep one healthy. Most healthy adults do not need vitamin or mineral supplements if they eat a proper variety of foods. There are no known advantages in consuming excessive amounts of any nutrient, and there may be risks in doing so. For soldiers to get enough fuel from the food they eat and to obtain the variety of foods needed for nutrient balance, they should eat three meals a day. Even snacking between meals can contribute to good nutrition if the right foods are eaten. Another dietary guideline is to consume enough calories to meet one’s energy needs. Weight is maintained as long as the body is in energy balance, that is, when the number of calories used equals the number of calories consumed. The most accurate way to control caloric intake is to control the size of food portions and thus the total amount of food ingested. One can use standard household measuring utensils and a small kitchen scale to measure portions of foods and beverages. Keeping a daily record of all foods eaten and physical activity done is also helpful.
* Eat a Variety of Foods
* Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
* Choose a Diet Low in Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol
* Choose a Diet with Plenty of Vegetables, Fruits, and Grain Products
* Use Sugars Only in Moderation
* Use Salt and Sodium Only in Moderation
* If you Drink Alcoholic Beverages, Do So in Moderation