Skip to main content

Military Health System

How Performance Nutrition Can Help You Maintain Readiness

Image of A person serving himself a salad. An airman fills a salad to-go box with a variety of fresh vegetables as part of his lunch at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, March 24, 2022. (Photo: Karen Abeyasekere, Air Force 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs)

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind | Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Performance nutrition is not just a part of the military lifestyle; it’s the linchpin to mission readiness.

“We define [performance nutrition] as having high-quality nutrition — the appropriate amount at the right time for the right event for our service members,” said Patricia Deuster, who holds a doctorate in nutritional sciences and biochemistry and serves as acting director of the Consortium of Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University.

CHAMP hosts the Human Performance Resources by CHAMP program, which has resources on performance nutrition.

“You want to make sure the nutritional quality is high, that the amount is adequate, and that it's readily accessible,” said Deuster. “It's about really optimizing the performance of our warfighters through the appropriate fueling.”

This approach fits into the paradigm of the ‘whole’ person, she explained.

“You need to feed your body properly by giving it the right fuel if you want to be able to perform optimally cognitively, mentally, psychologically, and physically.”

Creating an Environment for Easy, Healthy Choices

To help service members enhance their peak mental and physical performance, Deuster said CHAMP facilitates the development of a military nutrition environment that “really” supports performance nutrition and healthy choices.

“It's a challenge, especially for our enlisted and our recruits, to get the right nutrients that they need,” she said.

CHAMP supports that environment by working with military dining facilities to use the Go for Green performance-based nutrition program. CHAMP also works with on-base and off-base exchanges to encourage them to offer healthy choices to service members, Deuster explained.

Additionally, CHAMP works with vendors so that vending machines offer up healthier choices.

The team has created a ready-to use database of commercial off-the-shelf products encoded using the Go for Green program to encourage better choices. Food items are labeled according to their nutritional level:

  • Green for high-performance fuel foods
  • Yellow for moderate-performance fuel foods
  • Red for low-performance fuel foods

“We would love for that database to be used in the vending machines, as well as in the exchanges and other venues selling food,” Deuster said.

However, there is no one single color-coded system across all food outlets, which would make food choices easier for all service members.

“We're building relationships with external vendors to make that happen,” she said. “That way the service member can see it’s obvious: ‘This is Green, this is Yellow, and these are things that I can eat. If it's Red, I want to think about it.’”

It would be ideal if check-outs had ready-to-grab healthy items, she said. That way, “if the first items you see are healthy, you're going to grab something healthy.”

It means “making the healthy choice the easiest choice and one that’s not in the red zone.”

Commissaries have joined in the effort, she said. They have offerings labeled Dietitian’s Choice highlighting high-performance foods on commissary shelves.

Helpful Resources

Deuster pointed to the Air Force's Lifestyle and Performance Medicine Working Group Charter as a model for the entire Military Health System.

“They're really trying to push healthy nutrition and healthy living for airmen, through Total Force Fitness and human performance optimization," she said.

“If this lifestyle and performance medicine concept would be more MHS-medically oriented, then they [could] merge into a continuum where the MHS encourages healthy eating."

For more information, talk to your health care provider and check out the following CHAMP HPRC’s nutrition resources:

What is Performance Nutrition?

You also may be interested in...

Fuel for the mission series 1: Maximize energy

Infographic
6/22/2022
Fuel for the mission series 1: Maximize energy

Mission readiness requires a properly fueled body and mind. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables can boost your mental and physical performance. Don't skip your meals -- make time to fuel! https://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/healthyliving/n/Pages/PerformanceNutrition.aspx

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Fuel for the mission series 2: Refuel

Infographic
6/22/2022
Fuel for the mission series 2: Refuel

Maximize energy stores! Low energy stores = fatigue! It's extremely important to refuel the body with proper nutrients and hydration every 3-5 hours -- energy stores need to be restored regularly to maintain optimal health. Learn more: https://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/healthyliving/n/Pages/PerformanceNutrition.aspx

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Fuel for the mission series 3: Hydrated

Infographic
6/22/2022
Fuel for the mission series 3: Hydrated

Prolonged or intense periods of exertion can cause dehydration and loss of electrolytes — such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Remember to stay hydrated and drink fluids frequently, even when you are not thirsty. https://www.hprc-online.org/nutritional-fitness/performance-nutrition/basic-hydration-strategies

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Hydration Beverages – How to Choose your Drink

Infographic
6/22/2022
Hydration Beverages – How to Choose your Drink

Not all beverages hydrate equally! Before picking your beverage of choice, check out this list of pros and cons to avoid sugary or harmful drinks. https://www.hprc-online.org/nutrition/performance-nutrition/hydration-beverages-how-choose-your-drink

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Science and Nutrition

Infographic
6/22/2022
Science and Nutrition

Effective science-based nutrition strategies can optimize your mental and physical performance during training, operations, and routine activities. If you need help getting started, work with a registered dietitian to help you make the right food choices to fuel your mind and body! For more information, start here:https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/index.html

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Warfighter Nutrition

Infographic
6/22/2022
Warfighter Nutrition

As a service member, proper nutrition can make or break your ability to complete your training or mission and affect your well-being. Take nutrition seriously, and you’ll see the positive effects on your performance. Get started here: https://www.hprc-online.org/nutrition/warfighter-nutrition-guide#home

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Supplement Safety - Ask the Expert

Infographic
6/22/2022
Supplement Safety - Ask the Expert

Ever wonder if your dietary supplement contains a prohibited ingredient or if it's safe to use? Use the @OPSS "Ask the Expert" feature to get a customized, fact-based answer from their experts. https://www.opss.org/ask-the-expert

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Handy guide to Portion Sizes

Infographic
6/22/2022
Handy guide to Portion Sizes

#DYK? You already have the tools you need to guide your portion sizes, and the best part is… it’s already attached to you! Use these handy ✋😉 tips to make sure you’re eating the right amount of food to properly fuel your body. https://www.hprc-online.org/nutritional-fitness/performance-nutrition/your-handy-guide-portion-sizes

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Eat to Fuel your Performance

Infographic
6/22/2022
Eat to Fuel your Performance

You’ve heard of the food pyramid, but now meet the “Power Plate” 🍽️ This helpful tool provides a guide to create balanced meals for yourself meant to improve your physical and mental performance. Remember, food is more than simple sustenance, it’s #FueltoFight! https://www.hprc-online.org/nutrition/performance-nutrition/power-plate-eat-fuel-your-performance

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

Article
6/16/2022
Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

“When we deploy, our lives become simpler, while theirs become more complex: In addition to missing their husband and father, they are missing someone who should be helping to shoulder the burden that military life places on kids.”

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness

Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

Photo
6/16/2022
Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

An experienced military dad offers advice to new service members beginning their parenting journey.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness

Air Force Medical Service Launches 'Nutrition Kitchen' Program

Article Around MHS
6/8/2022
graphic for Nutrition Kitchen program

The Air Force Medical Service is launching “Nutrition Kitchen”, a series of online nutritional cooking classes geared toward service members and their families.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness

Tips for Military Parents Planning PCS Moves with Children

Article
6/2/2022
Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet, there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness

Could a Therapy Dog Help with Your Dental Anxiety?

Article
6/2/2022
Air Force Brig. Gen. Goldie, a facility therapy dog at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, helps reduce anxiety in a patient with complex dental conditions that require multiple appointments. The use of therapy dogs is part of an ongoing study with these patients.

A first-of-its-kind study at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is researching whether using facility therapy dogs in dentists’ offices could reduce patient anxiety and improve outcomes for military dental treatment programs.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness

PTSD Awareness Month - Treatment Works

Infographic
6/1/2022
PTSD Awareness Month - Treatment Works

Experiencing #PTSD can make one feel hopeless. Fortunately, there are strategies and treatments that WORK to relieve PTSD symptoms. Don’t wait, seek help today. #PTSDAwarenessMonth www.health.mil/ptsd

Recommended Content:

June | Total Force Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 11
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 01, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery