Field training and combat may be the most physically demanding work you do in the military.
This page provides information on proper performance fueling in the field environment and deployment.
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Deployment and Field Nutrition
Deployments and field operations demand a properly fueled body- this could mean the difference between top performance and mission failure. View your mind and body as a weapon system. To be the most lethal weapon in the arsenal you need to be "Nutritionally Fit."
Eat foods that provide top cognitive and physical performance without compromising your long-term health. Poor nutrition in extreme conditions (hot, cold, high altitude) can lead to fatigue, rapid weight loss, injury, illness, and dehydration.
Primary ways to be nutritionally prepared for all missions:
Make time to fuel. Energy stores run down after several hours and need to be restored with food regularly. Refuel every 3-5 hours- avoid going more than 5 waking hours without eating.
If you don't have a lot of time to eat or won't get a break for a while, make it a point to eat a small amount when you have a chance.
Snack when you can- include carbohydrate and energy-rich choices such as dried fruits, nuts, and trail mixes when choosing pogey bait or save unopened snack items from rations to eat on the run.
Eating calorie-dense and nutrient-rich foods is even more critical when you're exposed to cold and high altitudes. Your energy needs will be higher and your appetite may decrease.
Drink fluids frequently, even when you are not thirsty. Monitor the color of your urine and watch for signs of dehydration. In extreme environments such as hot, cold, and high altitudes, increase your fluid intake.
Operational Rations such as Meals Ready to Eat™ (MREs) give you the most nutrition in the smallest package. They are made with real food. Some parts of your MRE may have extra nutrients. In order to get a well-balanced diet, eat at least a part of all the components of your MRE.
A word on alcohol:
Alcohol (beer, wine, or spirits) is not a performance enhancing beverage. Alcoholic beverages add empty calories that may contribute to weight gain and some nutrient deficiencies.
Moderate alcohol intake is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, violence, drowning, and injuries from falls and motor vehicle crashes.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, do not exceed one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.
A standard drink is equal to 12 oz. of beer, 8 oz. of malt liquor, 5 oz. of wine, and 1.5 ounces or a "shot" of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).
Warfighter Nutrition Guide
Warrior Nutrition information from the Uniformed Services University’s Consortium for Health and Military Performance and Human Performance Resource Center. Links are provided to individual chapters and PowerPoint presentations.
Nutritional Guidance For Military Operations in Temperate and Extreme Environments, USARIEM Technical Note TN-01/4 This technical note is an update of USARIEM Technical Note 93-3, and updates the information on operational rations, includes water intake guidelines for training school environments based on current scientific data, and reinforces the importance of garrison nutrition.
Operational Rations of the Department of Defense (large pdf, it takes several minutes to load)
This downloadable book provides information on the entire family of fielded combat rations. Learn the purpose, major characteristics, nutrition composition, and preparation requirements of each type of ration.
Interactive Nutrition online training modules (AKO)
Several Interactive self-development nutrition training modules are available once you have completed the Global Assessment Tool. Topics include High Performance Nutrition, Supplements and Fluids, Nutrition in the Field, Fueling the Military Family, and Encouraging Healthy Habits as a leader. This online training is part of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program and designed to help you increase strength and resilience. An AKO account is required to complete this training.
High Caliber Nutrition In the Field (pdf) (USAPHC)
Power Performance ...the Nutrition Connection (Module 6). Ignoring nutrition when in the field can lead to reduced endurance, strength and concentration. This material will show you how nutrition affects your performance in the field and how you can eat for performance, even in the strenuous conditions of field exercises and combat.