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Healthy Eating

Proper nutrition helps to keep Airmen mentally and physically prepared for mission success. A healthy diet enables faster recovery from injury, exercise and stress. Committed to championing an environment supportive of healthy eating, the Air Force Medical Service has developed specific initiatives that promote healthier choices for Airmen and their communities.

Healthy Airmen

Take these steps to help incorporate healthy eating into your daily routine:

  • At the commissary, shop the perimeter, where healthier choices are found (fruits, vegetables, whole grain, low-fat/nonfat dairy, and lean protein)
  • Read nutrition facts labels to help identify nutrition content and food serving size
  • Plan meals in advance
  • Track your food and drink intake
  • Consider employing tools such as the USDA’s MyPlate or SuperTracker

Healthy Communities

Take these steps to cultivate community-wide healthy eating:

Go for Green® (G4G) in dining facilities:

  • The Department of Defense’s (DoD) G4G program uses a stoplight system of green, yellow, and red to identify nutritious foods. Foods are color-coded based on their nutrition quality, which can impact an Airman’s fitness, strength, and health. Green signifies performance-enhancing foods. When selecting from menu offerings, keep in mind the significance of these labels:
    • Green (eat often)
    • Yellow (eat occasionally)
    • Red (eat rarely)

Healthy Children

Follow 5210, to improve children’s health:

  • 5210 Healthy Military Children is a community-wide program to improve children’s health. 5210 promotes healthy behaviors, to put into practice each day:
    • Five (5) or more fruits and vegetables
    • Two (2) or less hours of screen time
    • One (1) or more hour of physical activity
    • Zero (0) sugar-sweetened beverages

Healthy Eating Tips:

  1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.
  2. Make half the grains you eat whole grains: An easy way to eat more whole grains is to switch from a refined-grain food to a whole-grain food. For example, eat whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Read the ingredients list and choose products that list a whole-grain ingredients first. Look for things like: "whole wheat," "brown rice," "bulgur," "buckwheat," "oatmeal," "rolled oats," quinoa," or "wild rice."
  3. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk: Both have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.
  4. Choose a variety of lean protein foods: Meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the protein foods group. Select leaner cuts of ground beef (where the label says 90% lean or higher), turkey breast, or chicken breast.
  5. Compare sodium in foods: Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled "low sodium," "reduced sodium," or "no salt added."
  6. Drink water instead of sugary drinks: Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar and calories in American diets. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or watermelon or a splash of 100% juice to your glass of water if you want some flavor.
  7. Eat some seafood: Seafood includes fish (such as salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (such as crab, mussels, and oysters). Seafood has protein, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat). Adults should try to eat at least eight ounces of a variety of seafood each week. Children can eat smaller amounts of seafood, too.
  8. Cut back on solid fats: Eat fewer foods that contain solid fats. The major sources for Americans are cakes, cookies, and other desserts (often made with butter, margarine, or shortening); pizza; processed and fatty meats (e.g., sausages, hot dogs, bacon, ribs); and ice cream.