You probably know how to eat nutritiously, and you may eat well and feed your family well most of the time. There are likely times, however, when the demands of your schedule or transitions such as a PCS make it more difficult to eat well. You and your family may find it easier to grab processed foods when you're in transition.
If stress levels are high during a military transition, you might also be looking for "comfort" with foods loaded with sugar, salt or fat. Since such foods can rob you and your family of energy, a balanced mood and good health - or cause excessive weight gain - resolve to stick with the basic requirements for healthy eating, especially when times are more stressful.
The healthiest plan for the whole family is to eat a varied diet that includes:
- Whole grains
- Vegetables and fruits
- Low-fat dairy products
- Lean meats, legumes and eggs
- Healthy fats from nuts and plant oils
As you plan your next dinner, consider these suggestions. Using a 9- or 10-inch dinner plate, divide it into the following three sections:
- One-half plate of fruits and vegetables
- One-fourth plate of lean protein (with meats, three to four ounces recommended - about the size of a deck of cards)
- One-fourth plate of starches/grains (whole grains, pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, tortillas, beans - maximum height of pile should be one inch)
The United States Department of Agriculture's MyPlate plan advises you to choose half your starches each day from whole grain breads, pastas, cereals, etc., and to consume low- and non-fat dairy products daily as well.
Use a tool to help you change your eating habits
What if you find it difficult to stick with a healthy eating plan when stress levels run high? Do you turn to food, especially non-nutritious food, when you feel frustrated, worried or sad? Through the Military OneSource login website, you can access an interactive health and wellness course to help you to make rational, rather than emotional, decisions about eating. With such support, you may find healthy eating becomes a lasting lifestyle change.
The LivingLean - Lifestyle Management and Nutrition Program is a self-directed, online course that helps you to avoid emotional eating and encourages you to adopt healthy eating habits. This 12-session course is free for members of the Military OneSource program. It uses custom emails, personalized feedback and your custom calendar to help assure that you succeed in improving your eating habits. Features of the LivingLean program include:
- A personal journal
- A menu planner and recipes for healthy meals and snacks
- A calorie counter
- Food categories
- A glossary of nutritional terms
- An exercise tracker
- A BMI calculator
Need a coach?
Individuals who are eligible for the Military OneSource program also have access to free telephonic and online sessions with a health and wellness coach. A Military OneSource health and wellness coach can help you identify your beliefs, values and vision of wellness. Then you and your coach will work on developing a realistic action plan that will help you to achieve your goals. Once your goals have been set, you both will work together to identify and find solutions to any barriers that may get in the way.
To sign up with a coach, call 800-342-9647 or schedule online coaching sessions.