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March marks National Nutrition Month at Bagram

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dwayne Salmon
  • Craig Joint Theater Hospital

Humans have several essential needs, such as breathing and sleeping, to survive and perform at an optimal level. One essential need that often gets neglected is nutrition.  Nutrition is important to our overall existence and provides the fuel needed to perform life’s daily functions.  We are all gifted with one life, so conventional wisdom dictates that we nurture both our body by consuming a balanced diet as well as perform various forms of physical activities three to five times a week.  To simplify this, the old adage “you get out what you put in” is appropriate.  


Today there is copious information at the public’s disposal, some from credible sources and others not so much.  It can prove difficult deciding what is and is not credible, so organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the United States Department of Agriculture, along with websites like, place credible information at your fingertips. Despite of all the nutrition information available to the masses a little reminder is always helpful and so annually during the month of March AND launches its campaign “National Nutrition Month.”


Created in March 1973, “National Nutrition Week,” became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition, according to the AND website.  The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”


This year’s theme is "Go Further with Food," and its importance is timely for many reasons. It could be as simple as making healthy choices for all meals to fuel one throughout the day or getting the right pre-workout or post-workout snack. Here in a deployed location, following this may require a little more work, but “preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance can also help to reduce food loss and waste.”


Here at Bagram it is important to consume a well-balanced diet of lean protein, grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dairy. Lean protein, such as top sirloin or flank steak, sole, tuna, beans, and nuts, should be the chosen more often than not.  Other tips include removing the skin from poultry, trimming visible and excess fat from all meats and choosing cooking methods that are healthier such as baking, broiling, or grilling.  Also, try making half the daily grain intake whole grain, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal.  Increase vegetable and fruit intake, to include making half a food plate fruits and vegetables, as these also make a great fat-free, low-sodium snack.  Try to consume low-fat or nonfat dairy products, such as alternate forms of milks – soy, almond, and rice are acceptable if fortified with calcium and vitamin D. It might also help to bypass the dessert table more often than not.


Here are some other AND tips to “Go Further with food” at Bagram:

-          Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis

-          Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you

-          Continue to use good food safety practices

-          Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week

-          Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist who  can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences, and health-related needs


Even beyond the month of March, make proper nutrition a priority if you have not already done so. This may propel you to make it a lifelong priority.