By Denver Beaulieu-Hains
Fort George G. Meade, Md. – Sailors assigned to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. TENTH Fleet focused on self-care and holistic nutrition during a cooking class at Fort Meade’s Kuhn Hall, the Education and Resiliency Center, Nov. 1.
Offered upon request, “Meal in a Mug,” aims to assist service members residing in the barracks with healthy meal options and meals prepared using only a mug, a microwave, and a few utensils. During the demonstration and meal preparation, the Sailors prepared two, 2-minute healthy meals, each costing less than $2.00. The course is open to all service members, military family members, and Department of Defense (DoD) ID cardholders, and provides recipes and hands-on experience.
“This class is about laying the foundation for a good whole foods diet,” said Dr. Shari Youngblood, a professor at the University of Maryland, who is also board certified in personalized nutrition. As a self-professed “Army brat,” she volunteers to teach the course at Fort Meade to help service members.
The Demonstration Kitchen at Kuhn Hall was designed by the Fort Meade Alliance, an advocacy group to promote lifelong culinary and nutritional skills.
“There is a lot of confusion around nutrition. We all have cultural and powerful emotional associations with food,” Youngblood said. “Food is the most powerful way of fixing [or avoiding] a health condition.”
“Food facilitates mental, spiritual, emotional and physical wellness,” she said.
One has to be well to perform well, and food habits can be taught, there’s a natural connection between wellness and readiness, she said.
As Cyber professionals, the Sailors duties may require flexible hours and long days. Protecting the DoD’s networks is work that requires dedication 24/7/365 days a year. The force is agile, resilient and responsive to facilitate intelligence, logistics and combat support functions to the Fleet and Combatant Commanders. Fleet Cyber Command is a tenant command at Fort George G. Meade, which employs more than 64,000 personnel, many with specialties in intelligence, information and cyber operations.
One of the Sailors who participated said, learning to cook healthy foods on the run is important and he appreciated the opportunity to participate.
“Growing up, I really didn’t learn to cook,” he said. “I want to be able to cook my own food, three meals a day.”
The Sailors learned to make a Coffee Mug Quiche, Protein-packed quick oats and received other recipes to share with the unit.
Likewise, the other Sailor who participated said buying fast food is expensive and not ideal for personnel living in the barracks. She recalled the resourcefulness of the junior enlisted personnel when it comes to food preparation but said the demonstration kitchen and the course offers new insight.
“We want our service members and community members on the installation to know the demonstration kitchen is available for use,” said Chad Jones, public affairs officer. “The education, resiliency center promotes well-being and can serve as another outlet for continuing education, personal growth and development.”
“We hope the Sailors spread the word,” said Jones. “The class, and the Demonstration Kitchen are open to the community. Our hope is that it’s a safe space for all personnel, units and families.”
Any community members interested in the nutrition program can contact Noelle Austin-Jones, director of Fort Meade Armed Forces Wellness Center at 301-677-2006.