U.S. Army in Europe's Fueling the Team program

Monday August 29, 2011

What is it?

U.S. Army in Europe's (USAREUR) Fueling the Team program is an offshoot of the Soldier Fueling Initiative that reshaped dining facilities at Initial Military Training locations in the U.S. Its goal is to help Soldiers, civilian employees and family members eat healthier to improve their performance and lifestyle. USAREUR officials hope the program becomes a model for the entire Army.

What has the Army done?

The program pulls together several agencies to transform menus in Europe's 24 dining facilities and educate the Army Europe team on healthy shopping and eating.

Food service personnel have teamed with Europe Regional Medical Command (ERMC) dietitians to create healthier meals, revamping menus to convert every morsel possible to low-fat, low sodium, low cholesterol, vitamin-fortified alternatives. Deep fat frying won't go away, but baked alternatives will appear alongside fried. The number of soft drinks declines while availability of vegetable and fruit juices and flavored water grows. Cheeseburgers will still be available, but with leaner beef and less fatty cheese, and twice a week burgers will be replaced with fit-conscious deli bars. Omelets will be made with only egg whites and low-fat meats, with baked or grilled potatoes on the side.

What efforts does the Army have planned?

The road ahead fully integrates the program at all dining facilities in Europe, guided by lessons learned, diner surveys, headcount analysis and other metrics.

The program is also an educational effort. To help diners quickly assess nutritional values, dining facilities use the Army 'Go For Green' system that employs green (high performance/eat often), yellow (moderate performance/eat occasionally) and red (performance-inhibiting/eat rarely) color-coded labeling. USAREUR's logistics directorate has teamed with ERMC, Installation Management Command-Europe, the Defense Commissary Agency-Europe and other agencies to bring healthy shopping and eating to the entire USAREUR team. Plans call for nutrition training during in-processing, classes for Family Readiness Groups in the dining facilities, information on reading nutrition labels and shopping healthy, and teaching commanders to "lead healthy" to motivate Soldiers to combine good nutrition with other healthy lifestyle choices.

Why is this important to the Army?

Strong Soldiers make strong teams, and strong teams make a strong Army. The 21st century Soldier is a Soldier-Athlete who needs a high level of stamina to endure the demands of combat, and good "Soldier fueling" is the cornerstone of overall health and fitness.

Resources:

U.S. Army Europe

Europe Regional Medical Command

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

Document: Army "Go For Green"

STAND-TO!: Soldier Athlete Initiative

Related article: Health by stealth: Army DFACs swap in 'greener' menus

Related media: 'Soldier-athletes' fuel up at food event

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