Performance Triad Soldier Module 10: Feed Your Brain Through Nutrition
MAN: Here’s some food for thought. What you eat directly impacts your brain and how it functions. Nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy will help you stay focused, alert, and decisive. Here are a few tips to help you boost your brain power. Tip 1 — Eat a healthy breakfast. It provides your brain with the fuel it needs to work properly after an overnight fast. Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy grab-and-go items like hard-boiled eggs, whole-grain cereals, bread, low-fat yogurt, fruit, and peanut butter. Tip 2 — Don’t overdo it with caffeine. When you take too much caffeine, you overstimulate the brain, and that can lead to poor mental performance. Be especially cautious with energy drinks and other energy products. Many contain caffeine mixed with other stimulants. These can easily lead to caffeine excess and overstimulate your mind and body. Tip 3 — Ditch the junk food and sugary beverages. They can lead to decreased mental performance. In the short term, they can also cause fatigue and decreased alertness. Long term, they can lead to permanent damage of the brain, as well as dental disease. Tip 4 — Choose fruits and vegetables first. Include a piece of fruit at every meal. Enjoy it for dessert, as part of a smoothie, or on top of a salad or cereal. Choose vegetables for sides instead of starches like potatoes, bread, or pasta. Also, make healthy snacking easy. Buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables and keep them in your refrigerator at home or work for a quick snack. Keep healthy, portable snacks handy, such as in your desk drawer, gym bag, or car. For a quick energy boost, try trail mix, carrots, an apple, a handful of almonds, or low-fat string cheese. Make junk food inconvenient. Keep it out of your house and out of reach. Schedule snacks as part of your meal plan. Have them in between meals to keep you sharp and energized. A solid nutrition plan that includes performance choices will help you maximize your brain functions and be your best. PIGFORD: Small changes can make a big difference. Use one of these targets to achieve your SMART goal this week. For more information on this module and to download the Soldier Challenge book, go to performancetriad.mil. Your readiness and the readiness of your unit depends on you. Train as you fight, and prepare yourself to have conversations about this module through group discussions and practical exercises. Conduct regular AARs to assess your Soldiers’ progress in attaining their SMART goal.