The line at the 82nd Sustainment Brigade Dining Facility went out the door on Nov. 15 as Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, commanding general, United States Army Medical Command, toured the facility. Her visit was part of promoting the Go for Green initiative, a health program for Soldiers that advocates healthy lifestyle, performance and resilience. Horoho toured the facility and spoke to chefs about the recipe changes and serving line modifications.
“We’ve made some significant changes to the menu,” said cook Michael Kosarick. “What we eat is who we are. Healthier food will change how Soldiers perform and ultimately, promote a stronger military.”
Since the modifications have been implemented, Kosarick has made some changes in his own diet. “I have learned to chose better portion sizes, and chose less fatty foods.”
Some of the modifications include using fresh meat over processed cuts, steaming vegetables rather than sautéing and cutting back on fats and sugars in dishes.
“Our biggest challenge is making the food delicious as well as healthy,” said Chef James Hanyzeski. “We’re teaching the chefs how to eliminate fat, sodium, and sugar content in foods, but it’s difficult to keep things tasty. We’ve also been teaching Army cooks how to prepare food in a healthy way. Through the trial and error of recipe renovation, we have found a way to make our food taste great while at the same time making it healthy.”
As Horoho went through the chow line, she complimented the cooks on their execution and presentation. She also used the Go for Green buffet labels. “As you can see, I chose mostly green foods for lunch. I also watched my portion sizes,” she said. “I am especially impressed with the use of almond milk in the soup. It’s delicious.”
“The Go for Green program is about color coding foods, making it easier for Soldiers to make healthy choices,” explained SSG John Lloyd, a cook with 364th Quartermaster Co.
“Green stands for high nutrients and low calories, orange means the dish still has nutrients but is higher in calories, and red is for foods that should be avoided or eaten only occasionally. We have placed green foods first in the buffet line to encourage Soldiers to fill their plates with healthier options.”
Curt Cornelssen, director of the Healthy Base Initiative, accompanied Horoho through the line. “We want to educate Soldiers and their Families about how to chose good nutrition. Go for Green simplifies nutrition into a stoplight chart. We’re here the see if it’s being implemented properly, as well as determine whether or not people use the system.”
The Go for Green system has three basic purposes: to educate on nutrition, design food lines to promote healthy choices, and to renovate the menus on installations across the United States. “The food is delicious, cooked well, and presented in an appealing way,” said Horoho.