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Military Health System

Nutritional Fitness

Being nutritionally fit means finding the right “fuel” so you perform at your best. A good diet isn’t just healthy and nutritious, it must also be sustainable. Trendy or gimmick diets can offer short-term success, but often are not sustainable. Maintaining a healthy, balanced, and sustainable diet helps build wellness across many areas of health.

6 Essential Nutrients

Performance Nutrition: Fuel for Body and Mind

Nutrition and diet are critical to overall health. Fueling service members for maximum physical and mental performance goes beyond the basics. The science of Performance Nutrition helps service members get the most out of their meals.

Performance Nutrition

Service members must operate at peak effectiveness in many challenging environments, and every person has unique nutrition needs. By consuming the right nutrients at the right time, you can achieve optimal resilience and readiness. If you’re considering a change to you diet or exercise program, talk with a registered dietitian or qualified health care provider first.

Fuel Your Body

Proper nutrition can make or break your ability to complete your training or mission. By finding the right balance and variety of foods, you can get the nutrients you need for performance and health.

  • Vegetables leafy greens, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower), bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes.
  • Fruits like berries, cherries, apples, bananas, citrus, tropical fruit (mango, pineapple), and kiwi.
  • Grains and starchy veggies like whole grains such as oats, brown rice, whole grain bread, potatoes, legumes, beans, and peas.
  • Lean proteins like poultry, fish, lean red meat, low-fat dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products.
  • Healthy fats like nuts and seeds, olive oil, and avocados.

Fuel Your Mind

The right nutrition can also help you achieve optimal emotional, cognitive, and physical performance. When you eat right, you’re likely to feel more energized with better focus, judgment, accuracy, and reaction time. Follow these additional nutrition tips to optimize mental performance:

  • Fuel your body consistently by eating regular meals throughout the day.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Some nutrients, like magnesium and B vitamins can improve brain health.

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Think you might need to lose a little weight? You're not alone. Even in the military, where maintaining physical fitness remains a job requirement and a key component of military readiness, thousands of service members struggle with weight.

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Last Updated: June 22, 2022
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