Air Force Medical Service launches ‘Nutrition Kitchen’ program

  • Published
  • Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs

The Air Force Medical Service is launching “Nutrition Kitchen”, a series of online nutritional cooking classes geared toward service members and their families.

The goal of Nutrition Kitchen is to inspire healthy meal choices by providing options for service members to make realistic changes to foods they are already eating, while also providing the opportunity to learn the science behind those choices and “level up” their nutrition knowledge.

Each episode introduces different options to “level up” a classic meal, starting with simple ingredient substitutions and ending with a chef-curated recipe option, taught by Chef Tech. Sgt. Opal Poullard, culinary instructor at the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia. Following each cooking episode, Sahra Pak, registered dietician at Travis Air Force Base, shares the science behind the nutritional choices made.

“Nutrition has a profound impact on the health, performance and readiness of our active duty personnel,” said Maj. Gen. Sharon Bannister, Director of Medical Operations, office of the Air Force Surgeon General. “Combatting unhealthy weight gain and obesity and the detriment of poor nutrition is obligatory to improving warfighter readiness.”

Beyond maintaining a healthy weight, improvements to physical and mental performance and underlying chronic health conditions are among some of the benefits.

Giving nutrition the spotlight it deserves is a key tenet of the rapidly growing lifestyle medicine field.

“Nutrition Kitchen is lifestyle medicine at its best,” said Col. Mary Anne Kiel, Air Force Medical Home chief, Air Force Medical Readiness Agency, who chairs the Lifestyle and Performance Medicine working group. “Food has an enormous potential to harm or to heal, but it’s surprising how infrequently we consider the types of foods we are eating every day. It is time for that to change. It’s time to empower the members of all our military services to upgrade their nutrition by making choices to keep them ready for the mission and to improve their health.”

The Nutrition Kitchen series aims to make the sometimes difficult process of both selecting and cooking nutritious meals more engaging, approachable and fun.

The recipes for this series were developed to be tasty, easy to prepare, and low cost all while providing the fuel necessary to “level up” service members’ health.

Service members can look forward to a number of delicious recipes heading their way over the next few weeks. The chef-curated dishes range from banana pancakes with date syrup to a cauliflower black bean ranchero taco bowl, a favorite among recipe taste-testers.

The best part is that this series will all be available at service member’s fingertips, where they can watch and cook completely on their own time. New episodes are set to release weekly and can be found at Nutrition Kitchen microsite or via YouTube.

Funded by Air Education and Training Command and a partnership with the Office of the Surgeon General, the Nutrition Kitchen Program was created by the Lifestyle and Performance Medicine Working Group and Health Promotions. The episodes were filmed and produced by 2nd Audiovisual Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, from August 2021 to February 2022.