News: No kitchen, no problem: Marine gives tips to eat, stay healthy
Story by Cpl. James Sauter
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - In today’s world, striving to eat healthy can be a challenge when demanding schedules and events draw our attention away from making good food choices. Fortunately, for those who live in the on-base barracks, food resources such as a chow hall, commissary and restaurants help maintain a healthy diet and stay in top physical condition.
Since the majority of single Marines and sailors live in the barracks and can’t cook food in their rooms other than in a microwave, visiting the chow hall and commissary on a daily basis is a priority, said Lance Cpl. Alex Bosma, a helicopter mechanic with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 and native of Seattle.
Bosma noticed a lot of Marines and sailors, without any nutritional consideration, waste their money buying cheap food and don’t take advantage of healthy food choices.
“For people who live in the barracks, there’s a dilemma when it comes to eating healthily and making the most of their money because they don’t know how,” Bosma said. “People in the barracks don’t make a whole lot of money, and over time eating out and buying expensive groceries every week adds up.”
Bosma learned about nutrition during his teenage years through his effort to lose weight. After joining the Marine Corps in 2010, he continued to use what he learned to maintain his health and a high standard of fitness.
Bosma said the best way to keep a healthy diet on a budget while living in the barracks is to eat meals at the chow hall.
“You may not always have enough money to go to the commissary and buy expensive groceries or sandwiches from Subway,” Bosma said. “I know a lot of Marines in the barracks who go out and buy bags full of ramen noodles and microwave dinners. There’s nothing wrong with eating those things, but they don’t have any nutritional value.”
Bosma pointed out to Marines and sailors who live in the barracks and receive commuted rations, or money they’re given to purchase food when working an irregular schedule, it’s smarter financially to spend the money at the chow hall. He said $100 spent per week at the commissary can be spent at the chow hall, covering the cost of two weeks of meals.
Anderson Hall Dining Facility on base offers service members a wide variety of freshly-cooked meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Those who go to the chow hall have to pay with a meal card or cash. Bosma recommends eating more fruits and vegetables during all three meals and limiting fat consumption to about 15 grams. He also suggested a main course less than 400 calories while keeping sodium content to a minimum.
“Check the nutrition cards before you decide what you want to eat,” Bosma said. “A single piece of rotisserie chicken could be more than 1,000 calories. You should never consume that much in one part of the meal. It’s better to get the desired amount of calories from an entire, well-rounded meal.”
Bosma also said Marines and sailors need to be mindful of supplements they’re taking due to the industry being unregulated. The best advice he gives is to research the supplements and use them for what they’re intended — supplements for nutritional deficiencies, but not as meal replacements.
“The best way to discipline yourself to eat healthy is to enjoy doing it,” Bosma said. “You start with small steps like minimizing soda or cheeseburgers and work your way forward to something you’re comfortable with. If you treat your body like a Ferrari, why would you put cheap gas in it? You need the best fuel available.”