March toward a healthier self Published March 22, 2023 By Major William-Joseph Mojica 934th Public Affiars MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn. -- New Year’s resolutions are a common part of each new calendar year. For many of us, starting on a fitness journey to achieve new goals or create new habits might be a goal. While new habits can be hard to form, they may perhaps be reinforced in March, which is National Nutrition Month. Created 50 years ago in 1973, National Nutrition Month stresses the importance of a balanced diet and exercise with the theme for 2023 being “Fuel for the Future.” Mr. Eric Neal, 934th Airlift Wing Health Promotion and Fitness Program manager, works out at the Fitness Center at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, March 17, 2023. March is national nutrition month, during which Neal provides classes for Airmen devoted to better sleep, nutrition, and exercise habits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Trevor Saylor) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res Here at the 934th Airlift Wing, Airmen can reach out to Mr. Eric Neal, Health Promotion and Fitness Program manager, for some tips on the nutrition trade. “I would consider myself a nutritionist,” Neal said. “I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition and Foods and was once certified as a Diet Technician, Registered.” With a passion for nutrition and healthy living and a wealth of knowledge in this field to offer, Airmen who are looking for help will find that Neal has plenty that he is happy to share. “The thing I like most about being a nutritionist is sharing the knowledge I’ve been studying since I was a teenager for improving body composition,” Neal said. “Track and measure food intake, focus on calories consumed vs. calories expended, and eat fruits and vegetables with a variety of colors.” Maintaining good eating habits can sometimes be challenging and according to Neal, “price and [the] taste of healthy foods and resisting overconsumption of calories are the biggest challenges.” The convenience and ease of fast-food chains and various readily available restaurants offer an appeal when time constraints seem all too common when trying to live and eat with a healthier lifestyle in mind. Mr. Eric Neal, 934th Airlift Wing Health Promotion and Fitness Program manager, rests during a workout at the Fitness Center at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, March 17, 2023. March is national nutrition month, during which Neal provides classes for Airmen devoted to better sleep, nutrition, and exercise habits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Trevor Saylor) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res “Cook food in advance to have leftovers available,” said Neal. “Keep items such as protein bars, canned tuna, vegetables, frozen fruit, Greek yogurt, protein powder, and natural peanut and almond butter and fiber wraps on hand at work and home. You would be surprised how much you can make by keeping these foods on-hand in less than 5 minutes.” With the importance of fitness standards in today’s Air Force, Airmen interested in some specific tips when it comes to nutrition can find several resources available free of charge here at the 934 AW. “We have quite a few classes offered,” said Neal. “Best Self, Better Body Better Life, Nutrition 101, and Advanced Nutrition 601. What I do is teach people how to write their own diets in Nutrition 101 using the exchange system along with some of the basics of healthy nutrition.” If any members are looking for additional nutrition information, please contact Neal at 612-713-1472.