What Type of Food Do Soldiers Eat? Want to know all about a military diet? While you may have heard of the military diet for civilians, the real military diet probably won’t match up to it. Soldiers don’t eat the way the advertised military diet says, unless they are trying to make weight. If you’re curious to know what soldiers really do eat, you can find it below.
The Military Diet for Soldiers
A soldier’s diet will depend on how far along they are in training, whether they are deployed and whether they need to make weight. If you’re considering joining one of the branches of the U.S. Military, you can find out even more about what soldiers eat from your local recruiter. However, the information below will give you a peak into the military diet for soldiers.
Basic Training Diet
During basic training, soldiers will eat three meals per day with most of the meals served in the chow hall. Most meals will be hot meals. The Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard call the dining hall a mess hall or galley, while the Air Force and Army call it a dining facility.
These meals in basic training will not be slow, however. There is no such thing as leisurely eating during training. You’ll be lucky to get about 15 minutes to sit down, eat and get out of the chow hall. Sweets and sodas are not allowed in some branched, even if the chow hall has them.
During basic training, you won’t be able to snack. You will have to rely on just the three meals you get each day. Most of the food is what you’d compare to standard cafeteria food. It won’t be anything special and can be compared to something like a chili mac or hamburger helper type of meal.
If you’re lucky, you may get to eat power bars or other nutrition bars you receive in care packages. However, this all depends on your drill instructor.
The U.S. Army has been making some changes to the food they serve during basic training, recently. It may not be like the stories you’ve heard of the past anymore. Many training sites are starting to offer milk, juice and whole grains instead of white bread, pasta and soda. They have even started having drill sergeants call out soldiers not putting enough fruits and vegetables on their plates.
The goal of this new military diet is to provide better food choices and build better soldiers. The Army has taken this new approach and it may spread to other branches of the military very soon. They are even using color-coded labels to ensure soldiers can easily choose high-nutrient and high-protein items instead of junk food that doesn’t support their body as well.
While sugary cereals and typical breakfast items, such as biscuits and sausage gravy are still found in the mess halls, so are cottage cheese, yogurt, granola bars and sunflower seeds. The new goal is to feed the “soldier athlete” during basic training so they will become a better overall soldier.
Eating After Basic Training
When a soldier has finished basic training and they are stationed at a specific base, they will still eat many meals in the mess hall or dining facility on the base. Most will have a salad bar, a snack line and many other choices in the full meal line. It’s a bit less strict, but you still need to move along, as it’s not social hour.
The options are pretty similar, but more varies and you get to make your own choices instead of getting what you’re told to get, as with basic training. If you want a salad and a few snacks, you can do this, but you also have the full meal option.
Military Diet When Deployed
The diet a soldier will eat when deployed can vary greatly. It depends on the country and whether you’re at a base or in the field. In some cases, soldiers may have an opportunity to try local cuisine, but that’s not always the case.
MREs may be the meal of choice or the only choice in some cases, but not always. These are Meal Ready to Eat, which usually means you just add water. During basic training, you will get to try these for a few weeks or even a whole month, which can help you get used to what you might eat in the field.
MREs ted to include an entree, a side, bread or crackers, a spread, a dessert, a candy, a beverage and sometimes a few other things. They also come with everything you need to heat the meal and eat it.
Eating Outside of the Base or Deployment
Obviously, if you’re in the military and you’re not on base or deployed, you can eat meals you prepare yourself. Many soldiers eat whatever they want after basic training and the options only become limited when dining on base or when you’re deployed.
When it comes to what soldiers eat, this article will give you a general idea. However, it can vary from base to base and from location to location when deployed. Don’t worry, the military won’t let you go hungry and they are making changes to ensure plenty of nutritious options are available in mess halls across the country.