Mindfully Choose What You Eat, an Easy Way to Build Resilience

Story Number: NNS130312-08Release Date: 3/12/2013 12:11:00 PM
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From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- March is Navy Nutrition Month and is a perfect time to focus attention on nutrition and the importance of developing sound eating habits said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Wallinger, a dietitian with the Navy Physical Readiness Office.

"You can make a difference by planning and acting on ways to stay healthy and build resilience for you and your family," Wallinger said. "Being more aware of your choices and how your decisions affect your mood and energy levels can make a significant difference to your health and well-being."

Wallinger suggests making a list of things that make you happy and ways to lower your stress to avoid using food as a way to deal with foul winter weather and the stress of uncertainty that comes to us via the news or changes at home and at work.

"Many people are tired of the winter weather and are looking forward to spring and outdoor activities," Wallinger said. "Now is a great time to start planning and make those small changes that can have a huge impact on both your health and your mood."

"Resilience at its core involves predictability, controllability, relationships, trust and meaning," said Capt. Kurt Scott, director, Navy Behavioral Health, "and eating right is one of the things we can control. We have choices of what we buy at the grocery store and taking charge of what we eat can pay huge dividends.

"Planning meals, shopping and food preparation all take time, but including friends and family in those decisions builds a sense of togetherness and mutual support. Making good decisions together makes us all stronger individually and as families and commands," said Scott.

What foods are kept around is important too. Having an abundance of foods high in sugar, salt and fat with few or no healthful choices available, makes healthy choices more challenging.

"The more apparent good choices are, the more likely we are to make them. Foods high in added sugar, salt and fat may give you a quick boost, but will not last long and often leads to guilty feelings and the need for another boost," said Wallinger.

Keeping processed foods and treats tucked away and healthful foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains that nourish the body in plain sight can help get someone back into balance.

Rolled oats (Oatmeal) prepared in the microwave, for example, can make a great snack and helps to avoid all of the excess sugar and salt found in the prepackaged servings. Rearranging the pantry so the first foods seen are the healthful choices instead of chips and cookies, can help keep cravings at bay.

"A big part of resilience is controllability, being able to choose what happens to you," said Scott. "Sailors are our greatest asset and increasing control over eating decisions contributes to resilience".

Navy Nutrition has many resources available on the Navy Nutrition website at www.npc.navy.mil/support/navynutrition.

For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.

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