JBPHH Dining Facilities support nutritional goals

HI, UNITED STATES

03.30.2023

Story by Staff Sgt. Jacob Thompson 

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam 

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii. – Healthy food options play a significant role in an individual’s nutrition. Consuming a balanced diet with a variety of healthy food options can lead to healthier lifestyles and have a significant impact on quality of life.

In recent years, the military has placed a heightened importance on the health of service members by providing different tools, such as access to registered dietitians, improvements to physical fitness testing, and even through nutrition education programs. But the most palpable change to daily nutrition has been made in the military dining facilities.

At Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, service members and base patrons have a variety of dining options, to include two dining halls: the Hale Aina Dining Facility, located on the Hickam side of base; and the Silver Dolphin Bistro on the Pearl Harbor Side of base. Although they are geographically separated, these facilities share a common interest: providing service members with options to meet their nutritional goals.

Both the Hale Aina and Silver Dolphin have in-place the Go for Green program, a military-wide initiative to encourage better food and beverage selections with the aim to optimize performance, readiness, and health. Go for Green utilizes a food labeling system that helps service members identify healthier food choices in the dining facilities.

“The Go for Green program helps promote healthier dietary habits, similar to the nutrition labels you see on all food products,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Everardo Gonzalez, Silver Dolphin Bistro commissaryman. “Go for Green follows the traffic light method: foods labeled green are good to go and encouraged to eat more of; yellow should be consumed sparingly, and red should not be eaten as often.”

Foods are given a certain color based on things such as sodium, fat content, sugars, nutrients and processed. The program shows customers what they’re eating and it provides options for how they can better meet their nutritional or dietary goals.

“The Go for Green cards we place in our dining facility allows our patrons to get an idea of what they’re eating, and if they’re trying to meal plan and work with their diet or attain certain goals then they can see firsthand what they should or shouldn’t be eating,” said Airman Echo Dickens-Drees, 647th Force Support Squadron services.

Programs like Go for Green help provide service members with the information they need to make healthier choices, but this isn’t the only delivery method for good nutritional information.

By using their training and personal experiences, Airmen and Sailors who work at the dining facilities can engage patrons in conversation to gain a better understanding of what their nutritional goals may be, as well as why good nutrition is important.

“Something we try to do while working on the grill is talk with our customers about their nutritional goals, ” said Airman 1st Class Richard Garcia, 647th FSS services. “We can help give them insight on nutritional recommendations, as well as recommend a good split of food entrees and portions.”

Airman 1st Class Dennis Davis, 647th FSS services added, “It’s also important to be motivated to be healthy to look good for yourself, as well as share your insight with others. By having good nutrition, you can help give others that knowledge so that they can work on themselves and reach their goals.”

While the military provides nutritional options and tools for service members, reaching nutritional goals ultimately falls upon the individual.

“I would encourage others to look more in depth into nutrition,” said Garcia. “Longevity is key; we not only want to live a long time but we want to live to the best we can, and how we take care of our bodies can help influence our livelihood and how we feel each day. If you want to live a positive, more healthy life, try going for green.”

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