Fuel up to stay everyday strong

There’s no “off-season” in the military so it’s important to keep yourself mission-ready. What you eat and drink each day can affect how well you can tackle the physical and mental challenges you face on the job. Poor nutrition can leave you drained and less able to perform and recover well. Performance nutrition can fuel whatever your day holds.


Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods throughout the day can help you perform at your peak.

Power your performance

Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day provides the nutrients you need to perform well. Your body needs both macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to function optimally. You can get these nutrients from a variety of foods—including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, lean protein, and healthy fats.

You can use HPRC’s Power Plate infographic to design a balanced meal to meet your individual needs. Aim for 3 food groups at each meal, whether you’re resting, training, or on a mission. You can also stay hydrated by drinking enough fluids throughout the day. When you choose nutrient-rich, high-performance foods and beverages, you feel better and perform better.

Try these high-performance meals:

  • Veggie omelet with berries and roasted potatoes
  • Smashed avocado on whole-grain toast, hard-boiled egg, and melon
  • Chicken and mixed-veggie stir-fry with wild rice
  • Burrito bowl with lean beef, beans, rice, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or summer squash, and cheese
  • Baked fish, sweet potato, and broccoli
  • Vegetarian chili with beans and quinoa

Try these high-performance snacks:

  • Yogurt or cheese with grapes
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Veggie sticks and pita bread with hummus
  • Hard-boiled egg with an orange
  • Tuna packet with whole-grain crackers
  • No-bake energy bites
  • DIY snack mix

Visit HPRC’s basic hydration strategies article to learn about the right kinds (and amounts) of fluids.

Nutrient timing

When you eat is just as important as what you eat. To keep your energy up, eat on a regular schedule and avoid skipping meals. Whether you choose to eat 3 square meals or graze throughout the day, try not to go more than 4–6 waking hours without food. Proper nutrient timing can help, even when you’re working shifts.

In addition to eating regular meals and snacks, fueling for exercise is also important. You can learn more about when and how much to eat and drink on your active days with HPRC’s Guide to Nutrient Timing.

Your unique needs

Nutritional fitness is not one-size-fits-all. Your fueling plan should be tailored to your individual needs and goals. To learn more, visit HPRC’s Warfighter Nutrition Guide or visit a Registered Dietitian, who can help you develop your own personalized nutrition plan.

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Dietary Guidelines. (2020-2025). Make Every Bite Count with the Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved on 11 January 2023 from https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf

Karpinski, C., & Rosenbloom, C. A. (2017). Sports Nutrition: A Handbook for Professionals (6th ed.). Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501­—528. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006