JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, VA, UNITED STATES
Story by Senior Airman Alexandra Singer
Only about 10% of Americans are getting the proper amount of vegetables in their diet according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. For Airmen, a healthy workout routine and proper nutrition is key to remaining ‘fit to fight!’
“Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Morgan Carpenter, 633rd Medical Group nutritional medicine clinic flight commander. “They not only help [satisfy] you, they also keep you regular and ensure that you are meeting your vitamin and mineral needs.”
On average, Americans only get 15 grams of fiber per day, but should be getting 25-35 grams according to the nutritional medicine clinic. Vegetables are a great source of fiber and the more variety, the greater the benefit.
“Think of the rainbow- not just green,” said Senior Airman Ethan Rizzotte, 633rd MDG diet therapy technician. “Many colorful veggies are high in other nutrients. Prep them for convenience, and add them wherever you can.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many service member’s diets may have changed; with PT tests resuming July 1 there’s no better time to take a look at your diets. As part of National Eat Your Vegetables Day on June 17, we are highlighting the importance of healthy eating through benefits that vegetables offer.
The foundation for a healthy lifestyle is building sustainable habits. According to Rizzotte, being properly fueled for a workout routine is key to optimal health and taking a PT test.
Whether it be weight loss or optimizing performance, the food a person consumes makes a substantial difference in desired goals. A calorie deficit is best for weight-loss; meaning the calories coming in should not exceed the calories worked off. To optimize performance, a mix of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and water will ensure enough fuel for both workout and recovery.
For anyone struggling to eat vegetables, there are ways to spruce them up in the kitchen.
Carpenter recommends mixing 0% fat Greek yogurt and a packet of ranch seasoning to dip vegetables in. When cooking vegetables, she suggests mixing them in olive oil and either air frying or grilling them to make for a tasty side.
There’s a saying in the nutritional medicine clinic, ‘You can’t outrun bad nutrition’ said Rizzotte.
“Your physical fitness will largely be influenced by your diet; your diet and workouts should complement one another,” Rizzotte said.
Being fit in the military means being mission ready mentally and physically. Vegetables are part of proper fuel for mind and body to perform at its best.