Special Operations DFAC Serves Unique Physical Demands
Rigorous physical training is the hallmark of Army Special Operations Forces (SOF) soldiers, and the high-octane nutrition required to fuel that performance influences the choices available in the dining facilities (DFACs) where these elite warfighters eat.
Special Operation Command is a culture that focuses food on optimizing human performance with influence from the best in Olympic, professional and collegiate sports. It is in contrast to the culture of quick convenience foods.
“The DFACs provide a place for the practical application of their performance nutrition education that they receive from their performance dietitians,” said Sgt. First Class Corey O. Gravesande, USA, senior enlisted food advisor, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C. “By eating at the DFAC, SOF service members will be able to learn first-hand what performance foods are and how to improve their selections.”
As a result, SOF dining facility menus are designed to support these elite warfighters' physical and mental performance by emphasizing a variety of deep-colored fruits and vegetables to optimize immune function, quality carbohydrates to enhance endurance and recovery, lean proteins to build muscle and performance-based fats to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. ...
Beverage Choices Balance Preference and Nutritional Value
Campaigns to promote nutrition awareness are showing signs of being a positive influence as the options available in military dining facilities (DFACs) increasingly reflect the service member's growing preference for healthy choices.
In the beverage category, for example, more of the choices available in dining facilities are considered health conscious or nutritionally beneficial. “More beverages now have reduced levels of fat and sugar, and contain vitamins,” said William Denton, chief, Food Services at Fort Benning, Ga. “Lower fat and sugar in beverages is linked to better weight maintenance, reduced tooth decay, and general health improvement.”
While nutritional requirements are one reason for the change, customer preference is a growing influence on the beverage selection available in dining facilities, as well.
Customer preference strongly influences the beverage assortment available in the 75th Ranger Regiment DFAC at Fort Benning. “We are required to provide two 100 percent juice beverages and reduced fat, non-fat milk at each meal,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason D. Hughes, 75th Ranger Regiment DFAC noncommissioned officer in charge. “Other beverage choices are based on vendor availability and customer preferences.” ...
Fresh Fruit and Lower-Calorie Choices Expand Available Options
Topping off a meal by indulging in a dessert is a favorite finishing touch for service members and requires a great deal of attention by the military to keep the choices available current with popular trends and service member preferences.
“Dessert choices are also based on customer preferences,” said Sgt. First Class Jason D. Hughes, 75th Ranger Regiment DFAC non-commissioned officer in charge, at Fort Benning, Ga. “The key to desserts is a wide variety and rotation of choices. We also provide lower-calorie options, like Jell-O, seasonally available fresh fruit, yogurt parfait and granola products.”
Hughes changes the variety of dessert options available daily. Selecting the right assortment involves more than simply adjusting the variety according to customer preferences and varying the menu. “It requires a balance of prepared products and products made from scratch,” he said.
Dessert options available in dining facilities (DFACs) for service members are constantly reviewed by the military to ensure the best nutritional items are provided. ...