Fit Food Tour encourages food over supplements

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs

A Food Fit Tour was conducted at the commissary here March 13.

More than 15 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron members participated in the tour, led by Alison DeCaro, 96th Medical Group health promotions coordinator.  They were encouraged to improve their health and mission readiness by making smart food choices, rather than taking supplements.

DeCaro said results from recent Air Force Preventative Health Assessment questionnaires show supplement use at many Eglin squadrons is trending up.

“Supplements are the easy thing to take these days, the quick grab,” DeCaro said.  “But they’re expensive.  They aren’t always regulated and many people don’t know what’s in them.  We are encouraging Airmen to use food first for nutrition.”  

DeCaro said Eglin is one of 12 bases participating in the Health and Readiness Optimization strategy, or HeRO, recently implemented by the Air Force.  HeRO’s mission is to improve the health status of active duty members to positively influence mission readiness and force protection.

The 96th LRS members were sent through the commissary aisles to gather food items they felt they could consume before and after exercising.  Commissary representatives provided healthy snacks and smoothies.

Then, 96th MDG dieticians evaluated the food selections and offered recommendations.  The members also received handouts which offered guidance on pre-and post-workout foods they could select to improve their overall fitness.  

“We told them their bodies absorb food better,” said Gemma Gilman, 96th MDG nutritional medicine clinic flight chief.  “We hope they will apply the knowledge they received and choose food instead of supplements.”   

For pre-workouts, the focus was on loading up foods that increase energy availability before exercise and speed post-exercise recovery, such as lean meats, oatmeal, peanut butter and cottage cheese.  Carbohydrate-rich meals, snacks and small amounts of protein, and foods low in fat and fiber were recommended.

Post-workout food choices centered on nutrition recovery, replacing carbohydrates, protein, fluids and electrolytes lost during exercise.  Recommendations include grilled chicken, fish or steak, dried fruits and nuts, pita chips, fruit smoothies and sports drinks.   

Staff Sgt. Eunice Wegener, 96th LRS, said she enjoyed the tour.

“I’ve always been big into health and nutrition, and am interested in learning more,” she said.  “The information I got from the pre-workout and post-workout handouts will help.”

DeCaro said squadron commanders can implement the HeRO strategy for their personnel, for education and intervention purposes.  For more information, call 883-8020.