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Chow Hall


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I am currently in the air force and my budget is dining at the chow hall.  Its really hard to eat healthy there any suggestions anyone has about eating basicly cafeteria food daily would help
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Well... as Calorie Counting is all about Counting Calories, I reckon you have two choices: 1) Eat Better Food or 2) Eat Less Food.

So, assuming you're stuck eatin' Chow Hall food, you'll need to learn the art of portion control.

Though, I reckon your other choice is to eat as you need, but burn off excess calories via exercising. I imagine they have a gym you could use, correct?
Hey, I am in the forces as well (military police) and since I live basically on base (my house is about 1 minuet away) I eat the our mess hall alot, and we have a lot of bad choices that taste so good, drools thinking about the "backyard Burger palter".  We have and so do most Canadian forces bases anyways have really good salad bars that are cheep and they have things like cheese and shrimp in them as well so I usually lode up on that, pick a vinegar based salad dressing and go to town with it.  Then for meat basically nothing deep fried (which as you know can be hard to get away from at a mess hall)  We have lots of subs that they make so some times I have that plane and ditch the bun.  Basically I try and avoid the deep fryer like the plague.

On a side not what are you in the air force, I am current stationed at and Air force base so even though I am army at heart I have learnt a lot of the air force culture and lingo.
sorry, if you take this the wrong way, but...I just can't stop thinking about living "1 minuet" away from an army base. I'm still picturing all these army guys in short pants and wigs doing an 18th century dance on the way to the mess hall. Kinda funny, right? ;)

Good luck with eating healthier. My only serious advice on doing that in the mess hall is to mention your interest to the people running the show. If enough people are interested in getting more healthy options maybe they will incorporate some?
ya it can be interesting, I live in military housing so the whole area is a suburb created primarily for CF members.  Basically since we live in one place for such a short time the CF lets us rent houses off them for dirt cheep, a nice perk of the job as usually they are nice places.

The base I am at right now is a air base (a first for me) and what makes it interesting is when the CF-18's ( our fighter jets, not all that different from the American F-18's) come in or take off full out, it can be quite loud to say the lest.
also as a general tip, I go to costco (a bulk store here, not sure if they are everywhere, sure you have somthing like it in your area) and by a box of chicken brest, If you buy it in a big box like that its cheep and great for you, just tonight I had 400 Grams of them lol.
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I am stationed at a remote base where we rarely have fresh vegetables or fruit.   It is hard to know exactly what my calorie intake is since the vegetarian food is always a new, invented tastless creation.  I have come to the conclusion that I have to just discipline myself to consume a lot less.  It is helpful to hear that others are also in choiceless situations.  
Youre lucky.
The air force looks awesome :]
Hehe.  I actually went on the website the other day....
first of all, thank you to all the service men and women here!  We love you!

My only advice is to read up on nutrition and food preparation and then try to make the best choices you can with what you've got.  You'll figure out what things you need to control the portions and what things you can eat all you want. 

Good Luck to you!
i rememeber my chow hall days and how hard it was too make healthy choices.  I ended up having to supplement and actually buy my own food.  I know its tough to buy food when you are on a limited income.  I took full advantage of the comment box asking for things like Pam to be used when they fried eggs on the grill etc. I worked in the medical field and I found that the chow hall in the hospital tended to have healthier choices than the other chow halls.  Good luck!  
I actually use to work at the Chow hall at TBS in Quantico when I was in college. If you can get some one of fairly high rank (Typically, colonel or higher) you can usually get some changes to the menu without a large number of people requesting it.

If not then if you can get a platoon worth of people to put in a request they might make a change for you. I would think it should not be too hard to find enough people wanting to eat healthy in the armed services.

However, most of the time because of the additional PT that a lot of military people do, they need the added calories of the 'good tasting' food as GreenKev called it. So you will have to have strong enough will power to eat the healthier foods. If they make the change to the menu but no one eats much and they end up throwing it away, they are going to change it back and not try again for quite some time.

Good luck getting it changed.
there are plenty of healthy choices at the chow hall just make sure you stay away from the snack line (the one with the grill) and check out what's on the healthy "main" line. usually they hvae some sort of meat, side, and veggies. I always go for the vegetables and they always have cereal so it's not like you don't have that to choose from. Whatever you do, don't pig out on the nachos, hamburgers, chips, etc. I know that's most popular & that's what 'everyone eats' but you don't have to eat that way. Plus you should be able to get cold sandwiches, they should make it for you & just get wheat bread w/whatever kind of meat and cheese and try to eat it without mayo...but yeah the Chow hall isn't bad. you jsut have to think before you get your food...plus they always have fruit...
I have not dealt with the Mess Hall food, not being military, so please forgive me if these are not possible options:

if you are being served fried food (for example, fried chicken), is it possible to get rid of the 'fried' part, and just eat the chicken?  If they give you mashed potatos and gravy, is it possible to forego the gravy, or have it on the side?  Is it possible to have water with your meal instead of soda or some other beverage?  

I have read the other suggestions and they all sound like good ones too!
I'm considering joining the Air Force and am a vegetarian (reason:  part allergies, part personal choice).  I'm concerned that I won't be able to get enough nutrients (vitamins and stuff) to sustain myself, especially during Basic Officer Training (BOT).  Can anyone offer assurances that it can be done?  Possibly suggest vitamin supplements I'll need?  
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