Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to a diet is one way to improve eating habits.

Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to a diet is one way to improve eating habits. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

You get home late from work and need to eat dinner.

Do you grab a burger and fries from a drive-thru or opt for something more healthful?

While it’s not necessarily bad to treat yourself to some less-than-nutritious foods, making them a regular part of your daily diet could have long-lasting negative effects on your health.

“It’s easy to have a not-so- healthy lifestyle,” explained Maj. PeggyAnn Cain, flight commander of health promotions at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

March is National Nutrition Month, and Yokota and other Pacific bases are reaching out to servicemembers and their families with information on healthful eating options.

At Yokota, staff from the Health and Wellness Center are promoting nutrition throughout the month, including presentations at the base elementary schools, a healthy cooking demonstration and a single airman’s night with games and activities.

Part of the campaign focuses on getting children an early start on healthful eating, Cain said.

And Cain said it’s important for adults to not get stuck in a dietary rut.

“Try to experiment with different foods,” she said, adding that it is important to eat more whole foods and less that are refined.

A lot of misinformation about nutrition exists, Cain said, pointing out that it’s important to look at all the facts before making any diet changes.

Two important parts to look at are sustainability and whether the diet is backed by research.

Fad diets like the “cabbage soup diet” may become popular, but is it really something people want to follow through with for the rest of their lives, she asked.

Cain recommended focusing instead on moderation and a balanced diet combined with physical activity.

At first, trying to change one’s eating habits may seem daunting, but, Cain said, setting a series of small goals can make things easier.

“People don’t always need to make a major overhaul of their diet,” she said. “Take a thorough look at your eating habits and pick which parts you want to work on first.”

Help is just a call awayMany bases offer a variety of programs to help customers lose weight and develop better diets.

In addition, the American Dietetic Association ( and the U.S. Department of Agriculture ( provide nutrition on their Web sites.


¶ Yokota Air Base: 225-8322

¶ Misawa Air Base: 226-6550 or 226-6653

¶ Camp Zama: 263-5050

¶ Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni: 253-3266

¶ Yokosuka Naval Base: 243-9776 or 243-9627

¶ Sasebo Naval Base: 252-2074

¶ Naval Air Facility Atsugi: 264-4685


¶ U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa: 645-2620 or 643-7906

¶ Kadena Air Base: 634-8197

— From staff reports

Dieticians offer tips on eating right

Healthful eating tips from the American Dietetic Association:

¶ Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Use to develop a personalized plan for lifelong health.

¶ The best nutrition advice is based on science. Before adopting diet changes, be sure the information is scientifically based.

¶ Get your food and nutrition facts from the expert: a registered dietitian. RDs are uniquely qualified to translate the science of nutrition into reliable advice you can use every day.

¶ Balancing physical activity and a healthy diet is your best recipe for managing weight and promoting overall health and fitness.

¶ Think nutrient-rich rather than “good” or “bad” foods. The majority of your food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients — and lower in calories.

¶ Look at the big picture: No single food or meal makes or breaks a healthy diet. Your total diet is the most important focus for healthful eating.

¶ Prepare, handle and store food properly to keep you and your family safe from food-borne illness.

¶ Don’t fall prey to food myths and misinformation that may harm rather than benefit your health.

¶ Read food labels to get nutrition facts that help you make smart food choices.

¶ Find the healthy fats when making food choices. By choosing polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, you can keep your saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol low.

Source: The American Dietetic Association

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now