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NEWS | April 12, 2011

Ask the Trainer

By Nancy Haynsworth Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station Fitness and Aquatics coordinator

For many of us, the term healthy eating means adhering to a strict diet, trying to become unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of carbohydrates and many of the foods you love. However, healthy eating really means putting the correct types and amounts of food into your body to feel and look great, have plenty of energy to sustain yourself throughout the day and maintain optimal health.

Healthy eating starts with paying attention to what and how you eat. Navy Fitness, in conjunction with the Athlete's Performance Institute, has developed a program called Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series. This program simplifies the process of being fit and well-fueled. By following 10 simple steps, everyone can easily be on their way to a healthier life.

The 10 nutrition rules to live by:

Come back to earth - Choose the least-processed forms of food, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains and high-fiber carbohydrates.

Eat a rainbow often - Eat fruits or vegetables with each meal. Choose a wide variety of colors for the biggest benefit.

The less legs the better - Include a lean protein source with each meal.

Eat healthy fats - Include healthy fats in your diet, such as olive oil, nuts, natural nut butters, seeds, avocado, fish, flaxseed and flaxseed oil.

Eat breakfast every day - When you eat within 30 minutes of waking up, you jump-start your metabolism. This gives you more energy to get your day going.

Three for three - Eat smaller portions more often, spread evenly across the day. Eat four to six meals per day. Aim for all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) every three hours for optimal fueling.

Stay hydrated - Drink at least three liters of non-caloric beverages (water/green tea) every day.

Don't waste your workout - Have a post-workout recovery meal or shake that combines both carbohydrates and protein immediately after your training.

Supplement wisely - Fuel first and supplement second. If you are not getting what you need through food, add a multivitamin supplement into your daily routine. Create a smart supplementation program that improves your performance without compromising your health or draining your wallet. Before taking any type of supplement, check with your doctor or registered dietitian.

Sleep - Aim for eight hours of sleep. If you can't get eight hours daily, consider power naps when you can. The body recovers and repairs itself best when it is sleeping.

Finally, remember the 80/20 Rule. Each meal and snack is an opportunity to optimally fuel your body. Choose the foods that are best for you 80 percent of the time and incorporate some of those foods that may not be the best, but are your favorites, 20 percent of the time.