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Field Nutrition [logo]

Tactics For Performance Nutrition in the Field

Try to eat at least three times a day. Your energy stores run down after several hours. Restore them with food regularly. Stopping to eat also restores morale.

Before activity, build up your glycogen stores - try to eat a meal or substantial snack 2-4 hours before heavy physical work or exercise. If you can't, eat a light high-carbohydrate snack or drink a sugar-sweetened (not artificially sweetened) beverage up to one hour before physical activity.

During activity, to maintain your glycogen stores - drink a sugar-sweetened beverage base mix from your rations or eat crackers, a cookie or granola bar.

After heavy work or exercise, to replenish your glycogen stores - eat a high-carbohydrate meal or snack (50-100 grams carbohydrate) within 30 minutes to two hours.

Snack when you can - take high-carbohydrate pogey bait or save unopened snack items from rations to eat on the run.

Eat some of everything served by field kitchens or in the ration to get all of the nutrients. A balance of nutrients is necessary for top performance.

Eat whenever you have the chance, even when you don't feel like it. Think of nutrition as a combat multiplier. Just as your weapons need ammunition and your vehicles need fuel to complete the mission, you need food to perform your best in the field.

Go to the field prepared maintain a performance diet in garrison. A regular high carbohydrate, low-fat diet with adequate protein, vitamins and minerals will build up your nutritional fitness before you go into the field. (see "nutrient functions & sources" chart on following pages.)

Drink frequently, even when you're not thirsty.

Go To The Field Prepared

Maintian a performance diet in garrison. A regular high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet with adequate protein, vitamins and minerals will build up your nutritional fitness before you go into the field.

Food Safety In The Field

Eating and drinking contaminated food and drink can seriously hurt your performance. In hot climates, bacteria and other organisms breed quickly and can get into food and water that is handled improperly.

That bacteria can cause diarrhea and other stomach and intestinal illnesses. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause serious, even life threatening dehydration.

To prevent food and drink contamination in the field:

  • Purify any water, ice or snow you use for drinking, even if purification takes a long time.
  • Keep only purified water in your canteen.
  • Mixed powdered beverage base in a cup, NOT in your canteen. Adding anything to your canteen interferes with the action of water purifiers. And, the sugar in the beverage base would be a food for any bacteria that gets into you canteen.
  • Protect food and beverages from insects, rodents, dust and humidity.
  • Assume that all native foods are contaminated and can cause stomach and intestinal problems. Fresh fruits and vegetables from underdeveloped countries can carry bacteria because they are frequently grown in soil contaminated by human feces. Always wash and peel or cook native fruits or vegetables before you eat them.
  • Know how long leftovers from opened individual ration packets can be safely kept.
    • Opened wet-pack rations (entrees, fruit) should be eaten or thrown away within two hours in moderate temperatures and immediately in hot climates.
    • Opened dry components (bread, candy, cake, beverage powders) should be eaten or discarded after two days.


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