FORT KNOX, Ky. -- Lt. Col. Christine Edwards, the lead for the Performance Nutrition Working Group, presented information to officers of U.S. Army Human Resources Command about "Soldier Fueling" at Waybur Theater as part of HRC's monthly officer professional development program here Aug. 25.

Edwards explained that the Soldier Fueling Campaign kicked‐off at Joint Culinary Center of Excellence in Fort Lee, Va., in August of 2010, where dietitians, food program managers, and Soldiers gathered to set standardized menu options for dining facilities under Initial Military Training. The new standards included shifting preparation methods from fried to baked, increasing the quality and grade of foods, eliminating less healthy options, and replacing them with more nutrient rich options to optimize the performance of our Soldiers.

In order to reverse 18 years of unhealthy habits and to ultimately change behaviors, Drill Sergeants also provide a one‐hour block of instruction, Performance Nutrition, to our newest Soldiers in Basic Combat Training. The lessons are then reinforced everyday at the dining facility through the "Go for Green" labeling program designed to inform our Soldiers as they make their food choices to fuel their bodies for physically demanding tasks and to meet their performance goals.

Edwards also explained that Soldier Fueling is designed to give Soldiers better nutritional choices not only at dining facilities, but at shoppettes, in the Meals Ready-to-Eat they receive in the field and also at partnered commercial fast-food restaurants on post or in surrounding communities.

Foods will be designated as a "Fit Pick" will be easily identifiable by stickers, just as some food products have a "Heart Smart" sticker on them now. Commercial fast-food franchises that adhere to certain nutritional standards will be able to place these stickers onto their menu items as well. The subcommittee is also looking to have a Fit Pick menu available to Soldiers at these establishments just as there are combo-meal and value-meal menus currently.

The DOD Food and Nutrition Subcommittee is also considering replacing soda machines with hydration stations (with beverages like water and flavored or electrolyte-enriched water), increasing the availability of whole-grain products and baked (instead of fried) menu items, and making desserts more nutritious in dining facilities.

The goal is to train the soldier to eat and drink healthier items that not only prepare them for strenuous physical activity, but also fuel them throughout the endeavor and aid in their recovery afterward. Soldier fueling is designed for Initial Military Training posts. The concepts of Soldier Fueling are expanding to other installations; the implementation will be different in a non-trainee setting.

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