FORT DRUM, NY, UNITED STATES
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Neysa Canfield
FORT DRUM, N.Y – While dining facilities on post are how most single Soldiers get their meals, whether it’s because of obligations, time or transportation, some Soldiers find it easier and faster to order out.
“During one of our [command post exercises], I heard from a lot of our younger Soldiers that they would order from Uber Eats a lot if they couldn’t make it to the dining facility on time because they either didn’t know how to cook or meal prep,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Tanya Bindernagel, brigade chaplain for the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade.
Bindernagel and the rest of the brigade unit ministry team decided that this was an issue that they wanted to help solve.
“We have access to registered dietitians that are part of the brigade’s [holistic health and fitness] program, so it just made sense to team up and set up some cooking classes for these Soldiers,” she explained.
On Aug. 16th, the brigade unit ministry team and Elena Arndt, registered dietitian for the 10th MDSB H2F team, hosted their second cooking class for all single Soldiers in the brigade.
During the class, Arndt taught Soldiers how to make teriyaki chicken noodle bowls.
“I knew I wanted to make something that contained simple ingredients, something that doesn’t take long to make and something that doesn’t have a long list of ingredients that they would have to buy and, of course, a dish that I know they could cook in their barracks with the equipment available to them,” said Arndt.
Aside from demonstrating how to prepare the meal, Arndt added that she used the class as an opportunity to go over the health and financial benefits of cooking rather than constantly ordering out.
“When it comes to ordering out, the health benefits aren’t really there. I would rather have them know what is actually in their food and what they are putting in their bodies,” she explained. “The [personal financial counselor] will also tell you that [ordering out] is a really huge problem with the Soldiers that live in the barracks, and that’s where they are spending a lot of their money.”
For Soldiers like Cpl. Joshua Johnson, a human resource specialist assigned to 510th Human Resource Company, 10th Division Sustainment Troops Battalion, 10th MDSB, this class allows him to build on skills he already knows.
“I like to cook, but I know a lot of the Soldiers in the barracks with me might not know how to and although the [dining facility] is accessible, sometimes it gets tiresome and you just want something different,” said Johnson.
Johnson added that having the registered dietitian from the brigade demonstrate how to cook the meal was something he enjoyed about the class.
“A lot of Soldiers are scared to seek help or guidance, so I think this class helped expose those Soldiers to the different experts we have in our brigade,” said Johnson. “I also think having a registered dietitian teach us helps Soldiers build a healthy relationship with food and learn about balance and the importance of eating healthy.”