By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /
Go for Green, a program that ensures Soldiers are making healthier choices while dining on post, is getting a face lift.
“The Army has had Go for Green, the original version, for quite a while,” said Capt. Michael Noyes, Nutrition Care Division chief at Martin Army Community Hospital. “It wasn’t really standard or codified, so it was kind of hard for us to say across the Army that every cheeseburger you get is a red item.”
Noyes explained that the original Go for Green had a basic labeling system that coded healthy food as green, and less healthy foods as yellow and red. Go for Green encouraged Soldiers to eat more green foods, but consume yellow and red items in moderation.
“The previous Go for Green really only talked about calories,” Noyes said.
Noyes explained that Army Public Health Command went back to the drawing board and came up with a revised Go for Green program.
“It has much more stringent guidelines,” Noyes said. “All the recipes are coded at the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia.”
Noyes added that the revised Go for Green plan now not only focuses on calories, but on fats and sodium content as well.
“Theoretically, now across the Army everything is going to be coded the same in all dining facilities,” Noyes said. “We will have standardized cards for each item that will have the menu item in the middle and it will say if it is a green, yellow or red item. The cards will also have the sodium content labeled on it.”
The new Go for Green standards require all dining facilities to offer a certain percentage of green items for every meal, Noyes explained.
“It is also about choice architecture with the 2.0 version. Choice architecture really means you actually have your green-coded items easier to access and your unhealthier stuff harder to reach. We will off the red items kind of out of sight or at the end of the food line,” Noyes said. “This is taking a lot of psychology into it.”
Noyes emphasized that Go for Green is not just about general health, but is performance focused as well.
“It’s about how to make the warfighter stronger, better and faster. It is about feeding them better,” Noyes said. “It really is about shifting military culture about food choice, because what you eat is really important. You are going to perform better with better food choices. It doesn’t take a lot to make good culinary decisions in a kitchen.”
Noyes explained that Go for Green 2.0 will be implemented by February or March 2017.
“The Martin Army dining facility, within the hospital, is about to be the first real dining facility in the entire Army that will do this,” Noyes said. “If we do it right here, this could be an example for the rest of the Army. This is the best place to start.”