Nutrition fuels the mission

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- March is National Nutrition Month, which focuses on promoting a healthy diet; along with exercise, nutrition is part of the physical pillar of Comprehensive Airman Fitness.

Comprehensive Airman Fitness is an Air Force-wide initiative designed to help Airmen maintain resiliency which includes four pillars: mental, physical, social and spiritual.

The theme for NNM 2017 is “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” as a reminder to make better food choices.

“The key is watching portion sizes and getting the right balance from all the food groups,” said Teri Galter, 20th Medical Operations Squadron Healthcare to Health registered dietitian. “My theory is there’s nothing people can’t have, it’s about portions and moderation.”

In addition to making goals such as increasing vegetable portions, maintaining and reviewing a log of meals and snacks can help improve healthy habits.

Some of the benefits of improving nutrition include: increased energy, prevention of disease, longer life expectancy, improved physical capabilities, and better emotional stability.

“Your brain will start to decline in cognitive function if you’re constantly fueling it with unhealthy snack foods,” said Janine Reinholtz, 20th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Health Promotion registered dietitian. “The mission demands the higher level of functioning that everyone’s capable of. If you haven’t been fueling and haven’t been feeding your brain right, you’re going to be functioning at basic level- autopilot, and that’s not fair to yourself, your coworkers or the mission.”

Investing in nutrition and overall physical health is crucial for Airmen to stay fit to fight. The Health Promotion and Healthcare to Health staff offer classes such as the Group Lifestyle Balance Program and Meal Planning 101 to help individuals improve their nutrition and maintain a healthy lifestyle.