FOCUSING ON NUTRITION: Commissaries invite patrons to improve quality of their diets during 30-day challenge
FORT LEE, Va. – Two months into the new year and your resolution resolve and willpower are waning. It’s no accident that March is National Nutrition Month, a time to reset your vow to be healthier in 2022.
To help customers get refocused on improving the nutrition quality of their diet, the Defense Commissary Agency invites patrons to join its 30-day challenge in March.
DeCA urges commissary patrons to take the challenge to see how small changes will make a huge difference. Go to Facebook all month for tips and tricks from the agency dietitian. Also look in the feed for the 30-Day Challenge Facebook live event that took place on March 8.
Deborah Harris, DeCA’s dietitian and health and wellness program manager, has designed adaptable resources that serve as a health and wellness toolkit for commissary customers.
“Nutrition doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to be perfect,” Harris said.
“Any efforts you make to improve the nutritional quality of your diet are steps in the right direction, and this challenge is designed to encourage and support you in taking those steps in ways that work for you,” she added. “Our resources are designed to be flexible, easy and economical. Using any combination of the following resources will make a big impact, both in this 30-day challenge and in daily life.”
DeCA health and wellness resources
- “Thinking Outside the Box” Meal Solutions: Preparing nutritious food at home does not have to be difficult or expensive. With “Thinking Outside the Box” meal solutions, the commissary offers healthy, quick, easy and economical dietitian-approved recipes for appetizers, entrees, salads, side dishes and even desserts. The recipes include ingredients typically offered at enhanced savings and are always accessible on commissaries.com under the “Healthy Living” tab.
- Meal planning resources: To take the work out of meal planning for your 30-day challenge and beyond, DeCA has created two dietitian-approved dinner menu plans including weekly shopping lists, each for an entire month of family meals. These monthly menu plans are available on commissaries.com at these links: Meal Plan #1 and Meal Plan #2. Choose your preferred plan and simply print off the shopping list for the week, add nutritious breakfast and lunch items and your shopping list is ready. To create your own menu plan, use our easy-to-follow planning aids, the Dietitian-Approved Menu Planner and the Weekly Meal Plan Worksheet.
- Commissary CLICK2GO: Use Commissary CLICK2GO, the commissary’s online ordering, curbside pickup service, to add the ingredients of your favorite dietitian-approved recipe to your virtual grocery cart. When shopping Commissary CLICK2GO on Commissaries.com, click on the Recipe link, select the recipe you would like to add to your meal plan for the week and click the “Add to Cart” button beside each of the ingredients you need to prepare the meal.
- Dietitian-Approved Thumb (DAT) and USDA Organic labels: The “Thumbs Up Dietitian-Approved” labels on store shelves makes it easy for patrons to quickly identify high-nutrition-quality foods to incorporate into a healthy eating routine. DAT uses FDA-defined health attributes to identify dietitian-approved foods that limit added sugar, sodium and unhealthy fat. DAT labels identify foods with whole grains, healthy fats, fiber or lean protein. The USDA Organic labels feature products that qualify as USDA Organic.
- Fueling Stations: The Dietitian-Approved Fueling Stations, located near the front-end checkout aisles in over 170 commissaries, offer convenient, tasty, nutritious meals and snacks that provide patrons shopping convenience without the high-calories or high-cost of a fast food restaurant meal. Customers can expect to see products that offer protein, healthy fat, complex carbohydrates and low-calorie forms of hydration like low-calorie waters and sports drinks, deli sandwiches, single-serving hummus, ready-to-eat lean protein, fruits and cheese, no-added-sugar yogurts, low-sugar protein bars, and prepared sliced fruits and salads. You can find a list of participating locations as well as a list of dietitian-approved salads, sandwiches and wraps that may be available in your commissary’s deli department on commissaries.com.
- Quick home-cooked meal solutions: Lack of time doesn’t have to derail your 30-day challenge, or prevent the preparation of nutritious home-cooked meals. DeCA has prepared a list of no-fuss entrées chosen from the many dietitian-approved “Thinking Outside the Box” recipes featured on commissaries.com. The list features links to quick-prep “Thinking Outside the Box” recipes using a slow cooker, microwave or pressure cooker, as well as make-ahead freezer meals, one skillet meals, and entrees using prepared high-protein foods like rotisserie chicken and canned tuna.
- Look for substitutions: Experiment with nutritious substitutes like cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles instead of starchy rice or pasta. For example, substitute one fourth of the ground beef in a recipe with ground portobello mushrooms to reduce calories or serve as a food extender allowing you a larger quantity of food without added calories. Replace fats in recipes with healthy fats like avocado or substitute half the sugar with pureed fruit. Increase the protein and lower fat by replacing sour cream with non-fat Greek yogurt. Or simply replace ingredients with DAT “Thumbs Up Dietitian-Approved” tagged foods to ensure you are using the most nutrient-dense item in that food category. The commissary recipe resources feature information that will teach you techniques you can apply to your favorite recipes to increase the nutrition value and decrease the fat while enhancing flavor.
“Health and wellness are bedrocks for our military patron, supporting readiness and resilience,” said Jim Flannery, DeCA’s acting executive director of the Marketing, Sales and Logistics Group. “Our unique health resources coupled with the advances in eCommerce make the commissary a valuable partner for your nutrition health, time efficiency and, as always, your financial wellbeing.
“We can’t wait for you to join in on this journey,” Flannery added. “Visit Facebook to keep us posted on your progress. Are you ready for the challenge?”
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.