A knowledge of the calorie content of food is
important to you as an MS. Your skill in developing
healthy menus plays a critical role in the support of the
physical fitness and personal appearance of Navy
The role of the foodservice division in
meeting this need is providing lower calorie food
choices. Some low-calorie food choices include
low-calorie salad dressing; salads and relishes (raw
vegetables); skim and/or low-fat milk; fresh and/or
tamed fruit drained of syrup; lean meat, poultry, fish,
or seafood without added high-calorie sauces or gravies;
a vegetable choice without added fat; and light desserts
in smaller portions. Think-thin menus are planned using
the same principles and standards used for the general
menu and should be based on the general menu.
Think-thin menus should include all the basic menu
components while eliminating high-calorie extras such
as gravies, sauces, and toppings. Calorie content is
influenced by preparation methods and portion size.
Guidance on planning low-calorie meals, low-fat food
preparation, and think-thin portion sizes of Armed
Forces Recipe Service (AFRS) recipes is contained in
Foodservice Operations, NAVSUP P421.
There are six types of food nutrients. Most of us can
get enough of these nutrients by eating foods from the
major food groups each day. These nutrients are
PROTEINS. The chief function of protein in the
body is to supply the tissue-building material. Protein
itself is a chemically complex organic substance that
contains nitrogen in combination with carbon, oxygen,
In the process of digestion, these
substances break down into smaller units called amino
acids. These units, in turn, are rebuilt into body protein.
Certain amino acids are necessary for maintaining
growth, weight, and good health. Foods are classified
as protein foods only when they contain protein in
sufficient amounts to be of value when the food is
consumed in normal amounts.
Animal protein foods-meat, poultry, fish, eggs,
milk, and milk products, such as cheese-contain the
necessary amino acids essential to body structure. The
protein in cereals, vegetables, and legumes lacks some
of the important amino acids and alone cannot support
growth. However, vegetable proteins such as dried
beans, dried peas, and peanuts can supplement the
animal proteins, and when they are served in the proper
combination can provide all the essential amino acids
without the addition of any animal protein.
FATS. Fats provide twice as much energy and
calories as do carbohydrates or protein. Fats are
important in the diet to furnish energy, provide essential
fatty acids, transport fat-soluble vitamins and aid in their
absorption, increase palatability, and give a feeling of
fullness. However, it is becoming increasingly clear
that excessive amounts of total fat may lead to an
increased risk of coronary heart and vascular diseases.
Emphasis should be placed on planning menus toward
attainment of lower fat concentrations while
maintaining acceptability. A significant reduction of fat
can be achieved by lowering added fats during food
preparation and increasing the proportion of lean meats,
fish, poultry, skim milk, and other low-fat dairy products
in the menu.
generally low in calories and fat and high in fiber.
Complex carbohydrates are found in grains, vegetables,
and legumes such as dried beans and split peas.
Nutritionists recommend that we get at least 55- to
60-percent of our calories from complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrate foods play an important role in
weight control. They supply the body with energy in a
constant, time-released manner. Since carbohydrates
supply sustained energy, athletes should get 60- to
70-percent of their calories from carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles as glycogen,
which is essential for endurance. Additionally, a diet
high in the soluble fiber found in legumes, fruits,
vegetables, and some grains may play a role in lowering
MINERALS. Twenty known minerals are
essential to health. Some of the more important
minerals will be explained next.
Calcium. The most abundant mineral in the body
is calcium and, except for iron, it is the most Likely to be
inadequate in the diets of many age groups. (From the
age of 9, the diets of many girls and women may lack as
much as 25 percent to 30 percent of the calcium they
need.) Almost all calcium, and most phosphorus, which
works closely with calcium in the body, is in the bones
The rest plays a vital role in tissue and body fluids.
Soft tissue, or muscle, also has a high phosphorus
content. Calcium is required for blood to clot and for
the heart to function normally. The nervous system does
not work properly when calcium levels in the blood are