Optimized Soldier Performance Through Nutrition

By (Courtesy article) | 3D Medical Command (Deployment Support) Detachment 1 Forward | Nov. 22, 2019

CENTCOM, Southwest Asia —

Food and nutrition are vital to supporting our Service Member's combat readiness and performance capability. Is what you’re eating helping or hindering your performance? If you’re feeling low in energy, underperforming in the gym, or struggling through your workday, then choose better “fuel.”

For Troop Program Unit or TPU Army Reserve Soldiers, you may not have paid notice to the Department of Defense, Go for Green, program in military dining halls.

G4G is a joint service performance-nutrition initiative that improves the food environment where Service Members live and work. G4G prompts better food and beverage selections with the aim to optimize performance, readiness, and health.

G4G is an evidence-based, joint service initiative that uses a familiar, stoplight-color labeling system to identify the nutritional quality of menu items. G4G encourages diners to choose Green-coded items most often, as they provide the best fuel for optimal performance and red-coded foods rarely or in small amounts.

Deployed Service Members who rely on military dining facilities for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a midnight meal, applying the color system is part of their daily practice. Col. Teresa Bierd, a Consultant Dietitian, with the 3D Medical Command (Deployment Support) Detachment 1 Forward, works with the military, contract and government managers responsible for the dining facilities to implement and improve the visibility of the G4G program for the Service Members.

In addition, deployed dietitians like Bierd, and nutrition care specialists work with Service Members providing services and education to help improve their health and wellness. Nutrition care teams stationed in Kuwait travel to wherever the Soldier is stationed. The team has traveled to Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar and Afghanistan providing assessments such as metabolic testing, body fat analysis, blood sugar and glucose screening, and performance nutrition education on the Army Body Composition Program, fad diets, and dietary supplement use in the military community.

Service Members find this information has a positive impact on healthful food selections. “They learn how to use nutrition to improve their overall well-being,” said Bierd.

A G4G program takeaway is, whether deployed or CONUS, make the healthy choice the easy choice at home and work. You’re more likely to eat what’s easily available, so choose healthier nutrient dense foods and beverages to help optimal physical and mental performance.

Bierd summarizes the program saying, the importance of G4G and overall Service Member wellbeing G4G is not “all or nothing.” It encourages you to improve your performance by eating more Green-coded foods and less Red-coded ones. Depending on where you started, try to improve your ratio of Green and Yellow-coded foods to those that are Red-coded.

For more information check out https://www.hprc-online.org/nutrition/go-green.