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Fort Hood Press Center
DATE: March 19, 2013 10:36:09 AM CDT

Lunchtime crunch choices can have a lasting impact

CRDAMC Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas – It’s 12:20 p.m., and your stomach is rumbling. You didn’t have time for breakfast after PT, and now you only have 30 minutes before you need to be back to work. What do you do?

The choices you make right now can affect your physical and mental performance not just today, but for the rest of your life.

Poor eating habits can lead to high cholesterol, stroke, and high blood pressure, even without significant weight gain. Fortunately, there are quick solutions available to improve your diet, if you’re limited to grabbing fast food or dropping by the shoppette, 1st Lt. Kimberly Feeney, a Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center dietitian said.

“If you have the time, the first step is to check nutrition information. Most chain restaurants have nutrition facts on their website, so this can be as easy as picking up your phone. Look for items that have less saturated fat, sugar, and sodium and more fiber and protein. For those watching their weight, calories will also be important to check,” she said.

A faster way to find a healthy choice is to look at the way the food is cooked.

“Words such as breaded, crispy, and battered are synonyms for fried, meaning those foods have added fat. In fact, sandwiches or salads with ‘crispy’ chicken or fish can have as much or more calories and fat than a regular hamburger,” Feeney said.

Along with how food is cooked, look at the extras that come with it. Cheese and bacon can increase the unhealthy fats in your sandwich so consider only getting one instead of both, Lt. Col. Janetta Blackmore, chief of the CRDAMC nutrition department, said.

”Skipping the mayonnaise can take over 100 calories off your sandwich and cut the fat content in half. Limit creamy dressings or dipping sauces to limit unhealthy fat or choose a light or reduced fat calorie version,” Blackmore said.

When there isn’t even time for fast food, take advantage of reading the labels in the shoppette. First, check for the number of servings. If there is more than one but you plan on eating the whole container, you will have to factor that into the nutrition content,” Feeney said.

“Aim for foods with less than 10% of your daily saturated fat and sodium and more than 10-20% of your daily fiber. Foods that are high in fiber and protein will fuel your body correctly and help you feel full longer, so consider switching that bag of chips out for some fruit or a piece of string cheese,” she said.

Many large fast food value meals have more than one third of daily recommended fat and sugar and over half the calories and sodium recommended for a young, healthy, active male service member. Frequently, the foods ordered at a sit-down restaurant have a similar content, Blackmore said.

“Switching over to a diet soda and smaller serving of fries with a salad or fruit can almost halve the sugar, unhealthy fats, and sodium that lead to heart disease while still offering a fast, convenient meal in a time crunch,” she said.

Over time, food choices have an affect our bodies. The choices you make now can stick with you the rest of your life, so try a new choice next time you’re stuck in the lunchtime crunch.

The dietitians at the Carl R. Darnall Medical Center are available to help you and your family eat healthier –call (254) 288-8860 or visit for more information.

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 CRDAMC Soldier takes a lunch break

A Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Soldier enjoys a healthy lunch (Photo by Kim Zamarripa, CRDAMC Public Affairs).

For more information contact:
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
Public Affairs Office
(254) 553-1870
Capt. Erin Cooksley
Fort Hood, TX 76544
[email protected]