FAMILY MEALS MONTH: Commissaries encourage patrons to prepare more food at home

Courtesy Photo | During September’s Family Meals Month, commissary patrons are urged to set a goal of preparing three to four additional meals at home. (DeCA graphic)



Courtesy Story

Defense Commissary Agency 

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By Kathy Milley, DeCA public affairs specialist

FORT GREGG-ADAMS, Va. – Building a nutritious diet can be a challenge when the schedule is tight. Busier-than-ever lifestyles dictate limited time to prepare meals, so many find themselves in the drive-thru line making selections that compromise the nutritional quality of their diets.

During September’s Family Meals Month, commissary patrons are encouraged to set a goal of preparing three to four additional meals at home.

The Defense Commissary Agency’s (DeCA) “Thinking Outside the Box” recipes on provide a solution to meet that goal, offering quick-fix meals that promote health and well-being for you, your family and your wallet.

“Preparing nutritious food at home does not have to be difficult or expensive,” said Deborah Harris, DeCA’s dietitian and health and wellness program manager (who holds a master of Public Health degree and is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist). “These recipes, found on, offer meal solutions anyone can prepare, with simple ingredients that are nutritious, economical, and can be prepared at home even when schedules are demanding.”

Every two weeks, a new “Thinking Outside the Box” recipe is featured in the commissary sales flyer highlighting specially priced ingredients available in commissaries. “These recipes feature a key nutrient and always align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans so you can be sure they are healthy and economical,” Harris said.

For customers who want to use “Thinking Outside the Box” (TOTB) to start their meal planning, DeCA has prepared a booklet, available for download on, which includes tips from the agency dietitian, an introduction to the Dietitian-Approved Thumb (DAT) program, a list of ingredient swaps to make recipes more nutritious, and a list of “TOTB” recipes along with a close-up introduction to some of the favorites.

To make it even easier for customers shopping online, all the ingredients for the featured “Thinking Outside the Box” recipe can be added to the Commissary CLICK2GO shopping basket with one click.

“Incorporating ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ recipes along with the other dietitian-approved recipes featured on to your weekly menu plan will have positive effects on your timeline, your waistline and your wallet,” said Harris. “And don’t forget to try Commissary CLICK2GO. Building your basket with our dietitian-approved recipe ingredients is just a click away.”

About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

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