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Chow Hall Makeover: Corps pushes healthy food at the School of Infantry

March 28, 2017 (Photo Credit: Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski.)
This story was updated on March 29.

The Marine Corps’ dietitian is looking at making the food that infantry Marines get during entry-level training healthier.

“It’s not that we’re taking all of the bad stuff out of the chow hall; it’s about encouraging Marines to make good choices and try to limit the bad stuff,” said Col. Michael Watkins, director of the newly created force fitness division.

The Corps is eyeing removing the snack line from chow halls at the School of Infantry on both the East and West Coast, Watkins told reporters on Tuesday.

“Maybe not every day, but maybe it makes sense to instead of having a snack line, maybe I have two main lines,” Watkins said. “So I’ve got two venues now for good, healthy eating options while the Marine is in a very heavy training cycle. Now we can get everybody through in a reasonable amount of time and give them healthy food – and, by the way, teach them a healthy habit.”

The Marine Corps’ dietitian will and her team are also looking at the factors limiting how much time Marines have to eat so that they have enough time to have a healthful meal, he said. The ongoing review is expected to last through 2017.

Once Marines graduate from the School of Infantry and other MOS schools and join their units, they are largely on their own in selecting what food they eat, Watkins said. There are no plans to limit unhealthy food for Marines after they complete entry-level training, he said.

“We’re not looking at taking deserts or the snack lines out of the normal chow halls, but, again, we want to try to encourage healthy eating options and good choices,” he said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that the review was looking at all MOS schools. It also incorrectly stated that recruit training depots had snack lines at some point. 
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