16th Sust. Bde. DFAC recognized as most nutrition conscious in USAREUR
May 11, 2011
BAMBERG, Germany - Food service professionals from the 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, won top honors at the European Regional Medical Command, U.S. Army Europe, Installation Management Command-Europe National Nutrition Month Competition in March.
The Nieves Webb dining facility on Warner barracks here, operated by Soldiers from both the 16th Special Troops Battalion and 391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, won first place in the small garrison category.
The competition highlighted and identified facilities and food service professionals who are bringing attention to the importance of proper nutrition.
The National Nutrition Month is an information campaign designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The campaign's theme, Eat Right with Color, encourages consumers to choose foods from all food groups.
The staff at Nieves Webb started preparing for the competition two months ahead by picking out a menu, reviewing its nutrition and calorie content and keeping within the 700 calorie limit to include dessert.
"The only challenges were being creative, because part of the competition was the appearance and taste and so being creative and keeping within the calories was really challenging," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ruth Caraway, a food service advisor for the 16th Sust. Bde.
The competition was a learning experience for the cooks and unique to the customers who came in to get their usual deep-fried favorites.
"I think one of the biggest things we learned was how to take the normal recipes that we use every day and make them a green product by taking the vegetable oil out and substituting it with a low fat or low calorie intake or salt substitute. That was a challenge for the cooks; we've never done that before," said Caraway. "That day (the cooks) didn't fry one single thing. They put everything in the oven and baked it, so it was an experience for the customers too."
"We try to make sure that we have everything we need to maintain the nutrition standards on a daily basis and not just for the competitions," said Sgt. 1st Class Don Blakely, the 16th Sust. Bde. noncommissioned officer in charge of food service management.
Scoring was broken down into three categories; nutrition display, fitness menu and food presentation. The Nieves Webb DFAC came away with a near perfect score. According to Caraway, it was their display that put them on top.
"We were the only DFAC to have actual themed materials for this year," said Caraway. "No other DFAC had that. I think putting the extra emphasis on the theme helped us out a lot."
The Nieves Webb DFAC won first place for its display and menu, but Caraway proudly says that it can all be attributed to the motivation of its Soldiers.
"It shows a lot in their pride and their willingness to not just do their day-to-day duties but to go way above and beyond and actually compete for something and try their best," said Caraway.
"It means a lot to me as the brigade food advisor that they're not just checking a block and putting a meal out," Caraway added, "but they're trying to do the best they can and that makes me proud."