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No matter what your fitness goals are, good nutrition can help improve your exercise performance, decrease your recovery time from strenuous exercise, prevent injuries due to fatigue, and provide the fuel required during times of high-intensity training and weight control. Combining good nutrition with exercise also can help reduce the risk of numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis and some cancers. Learning how nutrition and exercise work together for optimal health is essential.

If your exercise and meals are dialed in, you may be considering dietary supplements to provide you that performance edge. Unfortunately, dietary supplements are not tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to being marketed, and some contain undisclosed ingredients that could put your Service Members at risk. Operation Supplement Safety (OPSS) is a Department of Defense (DoD) resource to assist our military in making informed choices. It's important to know what you are consuming. Be smart. Be aware of healthy choices in fueling and performance.

Recommendations for Sustainable Healthy Eating Habits 

Nutritional readiness requires the ability to recognize, select, and consume the requisite food and drink to meet the physical and nonphysical demands of any duty and is a factor in the ability to accomplish the mission and come home healthy.  Just a single day of unhealthy eating habits can trigger neuroinflammation, associated with stress response and impaired cognition.  Sustained, optimized performance in training and operational environments demands a balanced diet of approximately 30% grains, 30% vegetables, 20% fruits and 20% protein foods as recommended by the USDA.  The MyPlate website is a helpful guide for sustained healthy eating and can be found at:  The following table provides an easy reference for recommended portions.

Food Groups and Recommended Daily Amounts (based on 2000 calorie/day)

Food Group Recommended Daily Amount What counts as one serving? Example of one serving
Vegetables 2 ½ cups 1 cup
  • 1 cup cooked leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • 2 cups of raw leafy greens
  • 12 baby carrots
Fruits 2 cups 1 cup
  • 1 large (8-9 inch) banana
  • 1 small (2 ¼ diameter) apple
  • ½ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)
Grains 6 ounce-equivalents 1 ounce-equivalent
  • 1 slice whole-wheat bread
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
Dairy 3 cups 1 cup
  • 1 cup of dairy or soy milk
  • 8 ounce container of yogurt
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese
Proteins 5 ½ ounce-equivalents 1-ounce-equivalent
  • 1 ounce meat, fish, our poultry
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  •  ¼ cup of cooked beans or peas


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