Packing Food for Annual Training

I am the PaleoMarine, but I’m also currently a National Guard soldier. I have annual training coming up soon, and I have been planning on how to get around the horrible carb-rich food they will be serving us. I will likely be unable to do any running every other day while out there, and my job is rather stationary, so it’s highly likely I would gain some weight while out in the field.

I’ve bought a bunch of RX Bars to take with me, but I probably won’t have enough for two weeks worth of calories. I’m counting on at least some meals that I can eat that are high in protein and fiber. When I can, I will eat what they serve us (if it’s not MRE’s) and supplement with RX Bars. If the meal is MRE’s or something high-carb, I’ll go all RX Bar or some other meat product I will find and take with me.

I know that if I deploy, this plan is not sustainable, and I would have to transition into a calories-in/calories-out (CICO) diet which is hard to maintain and difficult to live on. It would also make me have to be okay with eating high-carb foods which my body is not good with. Hopefully, if I do deploy, there will be healthy food options. If not, it is what it is.

It’s ironic that I worry about my diet and health while deployed more than anything else. One area that the modern US military is very backward about is nutrition. The number of overweight people in the military is alarming; so much so that I’ve heard talk of raising weight allowances in the height and weight standards. In the Army, as long as you pass your PFT, if you’re overweight, they sort of look the other way. In the Marines, if you score higher than a 275 on the PFT, weight isn’t held against you. That makes sense; most really fit people have more muscle which weighs more than fat for their size. I’m 164 lbs (today) and my body fat is around 10.5%. Someone who is my height and unfit would weigh less; I have lots of muscles.

I get it; high energy use requires lots of carbs. I know combat soldiers and Marines carb load before missions and drink high-energy drinks before/during missions. That makes sense. But in garrison? For jobs that don’t require high-intensity physical activity? There should be better options.

The military should be doing more to serve healthy food (that’s not all grain-based as it currently is). That’s why I need to take matters into my own hands on this upcoming annual training.

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