In addition to exercise, proper nutrition plays a major role in maintaining total fitness. Good dietary habits greatly enhance your ability to perform at your maximum potential. Eating a variety of foods and maintaining adequate energy balance are basic guidelines for a healthy diet.

For Soldiers to get enough energy from the food they eat and to obtain the variety of foods needed for nutritional balance, they eat three meals a day. Even snacking between meals can contribute to good nutrition if the right foods are eaten.

Another dietary guideline for a proper Army diet and exercise plan, is to consume enough calories to meet your energy and fitness needs. Proper weight is maintained as long as the body is in energy balance, or, when the number of calories used equals the number of calories consumed. The following guidelines may help build lean muscle mass and create more energy.

  • Eat high protein, low fat items such as: fish, beans, whole wheat pasta, egg whites, skim or 1 percent milk, and low fat yogurt. Avoid items such as: fried items, high fat meats, egg yolks, and whole milk.
  • For a good source of vitamins eat a diet rich in raw or steamed vegetables, green leafy romaine, whole grain breads, and fruits with skin. Avoid fried vegetables, iceberg lettuce (no nutrients), white bread, and canned fruits in syrup.
  • Good fats versus bad fats: Try to choose non-trans fat bread spreads and heart healthy margarine. Cook with olive oil or sunflower oil, omit or use less lard and meat fat. Limit or omit creamy salad dressings high in fat content, cookies, cakes, pies, and pastry goods. Furthermore, avoiding fast food is always a good way to help cut down on your fat intake.

The most accurate way to control caloric intake is to control the size of food portions you eat. You can use standard household measuring utensils and a small kitchen scale to measure portions of foods and beverages so you have a better idea of exactly what your portion sizes are. It may also be helpful to keep a daily record of all the foods you’ve eaten and physical activity you’ve done so you can balance your calorie intake against your physical output.

A high intake of fats, especially saturated fats and cholesterol, has been associated with higher levels of blood cholesterol, so experts recommend eating less fatty food for better overall health.

Track the success of your new Army diet with our body fat calculator.