SEMBACH, Germany – Since 1973, March has been recognized as National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme, Eat Right, Bite by Bite, promotes eating a variety of nutritious foods every day, planning and creating healthful meals each week and the value of consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist.
“Dietetics as a profession was given a boost during the first World War when its importance was recognized by the military as a key component in military health and readiness,” said Sherry Neal, a dietitian at U.S. Army Health Clinic Grafenwoehr. “Nutrition is key in preparation for any mission including daily operations, Army Combat Fitness Test optimization and field operations.”
Registered dietitian nutritionists provide recipe ideas, cooking tips and other healthful advice for everyday issues such as cooking dinner or meal preparation for picky eaters. In addition, many registered dietitian nutritionists provide medical nutrition therapy to help clients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. They often work as part of a medical team to help clients set nutrition goals to improve their health.
“Crash diets, fad diets and diets which promote rapid results with very little effort or with highly restrictive meal plans can be dangerous and counterproductive,” said Neal. “People should be very careful when looking at meal plans or diets which cut out entire foods groups. Instead, you should look for a meal plan that includes the food you like and work with a registered dietitian to help determine portions as well as help you find ways to add in the foods which serve your body the best for your goals.”
Neal says the biggest piece of advice she can offer to people who are trying to get healthy is to track their food.
“You can download a food tracking app on your phone, use paper/pencil or a daily checklist,” she said. “The key to any weight loss plan is to have knowledge on your habits and your patterns. Also make sure you find support. Just remember what works for your friend might not work for you, we each need our own individual plan.”
Neal recommends the Army Public Health Center website https://phc.amedd.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx for additional resources.
To make an appointment, call your local Army Health Clinic, Army Wellness Center or contact the Nutrition Care Division at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Visit the Regional Health Command Europe website at https://rhce.amedd.army.mil/ for more information.