Sill dining facilities compete for annual honor
March 14, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Competition amongst Fort Sill dining facilities again opened National Nutrition Month, this year under the theme, "Eat Right, Your Way, Everyday."
Bamford Dining Facility (DFAC) staff members drove that message home shortly after the food service inspectors pulled into the facility's parking lot.
"What caught my attention right away were the chalk drawings on the sidewalk with the nutrition month theme and then colorful balloons and posters once I got in the facility," said Sheila Mann, food service program manager administrative assistant. "They did a great job and went outside the box from the guidance we gave them for the competition."
While decorations helped draw Soldiers to the DFAC, the menu kept them there. To help communicate healthy choices red, green and yellow placards reminded diners and inspectors alike of the Fuel the Soldier initiative.
1st Lt. Beatriz George, a registered dietitian at Reynolds Army Community Hospital, said it is a great program and can be very effective when Soldiers are educated how to use it to meet their personal needs. She said for some Soldiers that may mean sticking mainly to green and yellow foods with a few red items to reduce calories and drop weight. Others who need to put on some weight can tailor more yellow and red foods into their diets.
Mann and the team of National Nutrition Month inspectors examined the Bamford DFAC looking not only for nutritious meals, but also cleanliness, customer satisfaction and displayed nutrition information for diners.
Some of that information literally walked up to the inspectors in the form of a slice of pizza and an apple. A.C. Crawford, garbed as a tall and fit pepperoni and veggie pizza slice, told the inspectors and diners that the tomato sauce used on pizza has cancer-fighting properties. He added pizza is OK to eat occasionally but not every day. Beside him Kandace Scott wore a bright red apple costume. She reminded all about keeping the doctor away by eating apples. The fruit is known to aid in heart health, fighting cancer, reducing cholesterol and warding off Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
"It's all about awareness -- we post nutrition information daily, but during this month we just highlight it," said Jonathan Williams, installation food program manager. "We want to encourage Soldiers to eat right and stay healthy; it betters them as Soldier/athletes and coincides with the Fuel the Soldier program."
Inspection items included a 500-calorie or less menu, baked or roasted entrees for lunch and dinner, a well-stocked salad bar and 1 percent or skim milk. They also verified that cooks prepared foods in nutritionally friendly ways.
"We're very excited to show inspectors what we do here at Bamford to provide Soldiers well-balanced meals," said Michael Hamilton, Bamford DFAC manager.
"Outside of Thanksgiving, this annual inspection is the only other time we get to display some of the culinary arts our team can do," said Hamilton.
He added competing for the trophy is great motivation for his staff and something they have been looking forward to.
Staff Sgt. Telisha Benns, a food service sergeant at Garcia DFAC, commended the Bamford staff for the creativite ways they shared information with their customers. While examining menu items, she noticed vegetables weren't overcooked.
"Even the short-order line offered nutritious choices like chicken and veggie burgers," she said. "They're doing an excellent job, and everything looked really good."
In addition to reviewing the facility and staff, the inspectors interviewed diners to get their appraisal of the DFAC.
Spc. Kirklynn Briggs, who regularly eats at Bamford since September, was pleased with the variety and taste of food. She added the food placcards help her to eat good, wholesome meals. She said she mainly eats from the green or yellow cards but sometimes will go for a red food item.
To help get the word out on good nutrition habits, Geronimo Road and Sheridan Road elementary school children displayed their art expertise in a poster contest. Posters will adorn the entry way of the DFACs during the nutrition month. Williams said logistics personnel will present prizes to the winners during upcoming school assemblies.
The seven-person inspection team will also visit the Blockhouse, Garcia and 434th Field Artillery DFACs throughout March. The winning DFAC will be presented a plaque in April.