FORT LEE, Va. (April 24, 2014) -- What results do people want to achieve in their lives? Be promotable. Increase energy. Sleep restfully. Feel great. Walk confidently. Train harder. Increase muscle. Lose body fat. Strengthen immune system. Lead by example. Top Block. Look better naked.

To achieve these results, it's important to eat right, be active and rest to recover.

The military is in a precarious situation. The health of service members is the cornerstone of the country's war-fighting mission capabilities.

Yet, the mission is threatened by data that shows an increasing number of service members are overweight, obese, and plagued with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

These are all chronic disease conditions that can be managed -- and even eliminated -- by changes in lifestyle, mainly, what we eat, how much we move and the quality of rest and recovery. How individuals choose to fuel their bodies determines how they look, feel and their overall state of well-being.

People who eat healthy (most of the time) and are physically active in their daily lives have a much lower risk of being burdened with one or more chronic diseases and simply feel better.

Bodies perform best on the food (fuel) it was designed to eat. The bottom line is to eat mostly real, whole foods and less processed food products.

A body that receives most calories from processed food products will be constantly seeking nutrients -- it will be hungry, undernourished, fatigued and more susceptible to illness.

Aim for the 80-20 percent rule -- 80 percent of the time eat foods that nourish and 20 percent eat for fun.

For 60 percent, choose whole, real plant products -- whole fruits and vegetables either fresh, frozen or canned; nuts; seeds; beans; legumes; potatoes and whole grains such as whole oats, Quinoa, brown rice, barley and bulgur.

For 20 percent, choose lean protein -- fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef or pork, eggs or egg whites, low-fat cheese, milk, yogurt, beans and legumes.

An occasional treat is fine for the remaining 20 percent.

By following these guidelines, a plate will look like this:

• half plate with fruits and vegetables,

• quarter plate of lean protein

• quarter plate of whole grains

The best time to begin and enhance a daily performance is at breakfast. Fuel with lean protein (your body has been using it all night long for growth and repair, it helps keep you full and your blood sugar stable) and whole, plant foods (a brain does not store glucose, it needs this energy to kick it in to high gear) such as fruits, whole grains, starchy and non-starchy vegetables.

Consider these simple "Outside the Box" nutritious breakfast ideas:

• Baked sweet potato with vanilla yogurt, raisins, pecans or walnuts

• Whole oats prepared with skim milk, add fruit or nuts

• Scrambled eggs or egg whites with beans or potatoes or brown rice, add salsa

• Baked potato topped with plain Greek yogurt, fruit on the side

• Cottage cheese with fruit and nuts

• Cheese stick, apple/pear slices with nut butter

• Greek yogurt parfait with fruits and nuts

• Feta cheese with barley, chopped peppers, tomatoes

• Beans and brown rice with picante sauce, leftover veggies

It is estimated that people make more than 250 decisions every day just regarding food. Healthy eating is an individual's responsibility and choice. Freedom of Choice. We cherish it. Our soldiers fight for it. Let us not die from it.

For additional information on nutrition and the Performance Triad, call (804) 734 -9000 or visit http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/healthyliving/Pages/PerformanceTriad.aspx.

Page last updated Thu April 24th, 2014 at 09:42