Eat well, perform well: Diet a huge part of meeting training goals

Courtesy Photo | A trainee with 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment sit down for breakfast. Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson uses a program called Go for Green to help trainees to be the most efficient mentally and physically. The program encourages Soldiers to eat healthy by using a color-coded scheme.



Story by LaTrice Langston 

Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office

When ask the most challenging part of Basic Combat Training, Pfc. Tyler Moore from 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment said “… learning to be a part of a team and never giving up on other members of the team,” while Pfc. Darren Malone from 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment credited “ruck marching from The Forge.”

Hundreds of trainees when asked the same question echoed those of Pfc. Moore and Malone. Simply stated Fort Jackson one of the nation’s largest training bases is focused on transformation of civilian to Soldier. A key ingredient to accomplishing this mission is a close eye on the nutrition provided to trainees while in BCT.

Within the vast majority of training, designed to change the body and the mind, diet is a huge part of meeting one’s training goals. Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson is focused on training individuals to be most efficient mentally and physically.

One constant conversation starter on Fort Jackson’s social media pages is the supposed lack of food options provided to the trainees, with many messages seeking answers to why their trainee has lost weight and complains of not enough food and food options.

Fort Jackson’s commander said that is not the case.

“I will tell you, they don’t get to eat when they want to eat, they don’t get to eat necessarily what they want to eat but they eat a lot,” said Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle Jr., while speaking on the “Go for Green” go for green slide during 10 September’s Commanding General Virtual Town Hall.

Beagle explained how the Go for Green system works as a system where foods served to Soldiers are categorized as green, amber and red based on their nutritional level.

“All of this is directed by higher level leadership nutritionist and dietitians,” Beagle said. “We strive to go for green.” Trainees are taught to go through dining facility lines to “go for green.”

“Green is very, very healthy,” Beagle said as he further explained the system, “but you don’t see hamburgers, you don’t see French fries and all those type things. Even if it’s red, it’s still a healthy choice.

“It may be an oven-fried chicken, but it’s not fried in grease but quite healthy.”

He added that Soldiers who are a “little bit on the borderline over weight side, you want them to focus on the go for green, you need them to continue to drop body fat…”

Go for Green provides the nutrition to assist in meeting both mental and physical training goals. For Trainee’s, the knowledge of the right foods to eat and the proportions in which to eat them, will ensure they retain the mental clarity and physical agility to sustain them their career.

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