CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -Third Army food service personnel and senior members of the food service management board from multiple countries participated in their quarterly meeting, which was held at the Zone 1 theater here, Oct. 20.

The main goal of the meeting was to provide a quarterly exchange of information for the food service leaders and receive updates on food services. The meeting focused primarily on ways to improve food quality and timeliness for Troops in the war zone.

But coordination wasn't the only item on the menu.

The group also discussed the new Army "Soldier Athlete" initiative program. The "Soldier Athlete" initiative is a new program that treats and trains Soldiers like athletes. This is a three-tier program that improves upon the physical readiness program by introducing the new Training Circular 3.22-20, places athletic trainers with initial military training in units to optimize training and begins the initiative that no longer "feeds" the Soldier, but rather "fuels" the Soldier by adding a menu cycle with healthier choices and low-fat or sugar-free alternatives.

And Third Army is meeting this challenge, even before many others.

"We've remained a year ahead of the power curb," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 David J. Longstaff, Third Army command food advisor. "[Third Army] is beating 'big Army' to the punch."
With this foresight, Third Army will be implementing the changes to ensure healthier eating for its Servicemembers.
Longstaff is at the front of the line in ensuring Servicemembers throughout Third Army's area of operations have a variety of healthier alternatives. Some of those items will be baked goods in the place of fried, more milks and juices instead of sodas, whole grain pastas and breads and even more choices in fresh fruits.
Lasagna, for example, will be re-formulated with better ingredients and have a vegetarian option and gravy bases will have less sodium than before.
All of these are part of ongoing processes set by Third Army food service personnel. Many of these items are already in circulation while others are expected to be appearing on menus in the coming months.
This eight-hour meeting is indicative of strides Third Army has made in recent years with the quality of its food. The quarterly meeting also demonstrates what Third Army's food service leadership can do with continued coordination and fresh ideas to ensure its Servicemembers live a healthier lifestyle.
"We never want to take any food options away from Third Army Soldiers," said Longstaff. "But we do want to give them a lot of healthy alternatives to help them be more physically fit."