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Andersen eats their way to good health

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexa Ann Henderson
  • 36 Wing Public Affairs
The 36th Medical Operation Squadron kicked up their education programs this month and encouraged base members to live healthy lifestyles while also giving them some tips and tools to do so.

This year's National Nutrition Month theme was "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle."

The reason behind National Nutrition Month is to teach people about good diet habits, said Neli Meier, 36th MDOS health promotion program coordinator.
Nutrition plays a key role in everyone's lives, especially for service members and their families.

"We have a certain standard to upkeep being in the military, and we have to be within those standards to have a fit and mobile force," Meier said. "We need to be fit to further the Air Force mission."

Lt. Col. Jeanette Frantal, 36th MDOS commander, says it is extremely important to eat healthy.

"Food is fuel," Frantal said. "I want to make sure I'm giving my body the best fuel I possibly can. When you don't eat right it's like running a car with no gas."
To maintain readiness and mobility, Meier recommended Airmen follow some general rules of nutrition.

She said a good rule of thumb for nutrition is to have 50 percent of calories ingested at each meal be fruits and vegetables.

"(Produce) needs to be as fresh as possible," said Meier. "This is emphasized not only for good digestion, but because we sometimes forget about the micronutrients that we get with fresh food."

While she recommends eating fresh fruits and vegetables, eating fresh is occasionally difficult on Guam as a lot of food is imported and challenges could arise with late shipments. Meier suggests frozen or canned fruits and vegetables in those instances. 

"It's even more important for us here because we are in a remote place," said Meier. "We have a different selection of what food is available when someone goes to the commissary and the shipment hasn't come in yet. It makes it that much easier to pick the unhealthy option because those aren't always stocked. Don't give up on the fruits and vegetables."

Some additional advantages of healthy eating also include a maintained body mass, normal hormone balances and peak performance while also preventing some of the downfalls resulting from poor nutrition. Poor nutrition can potentially lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hormonal imbalances and obesity.

One recommendation to start eating healthy is to add vegetables to every meal.

Another way to be healthy is to learn more by attending a Nutrition 101 class held by the 36th MDOS every second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. at various locations around base. The class covers how to make healthy choices and what the latest guidelines to nutrition are.

For more information on healthy diet habits or Nutrition 101, contact Meier with the health promotion flight at 366-2494.

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