The Army’s new mission: Creating healthy food for kids
The U.S. Army Child, Youth and Schools (CYS) Services is on a mission to completely overhaul its foodservice program, which feeds more than 70,000 children breakfast, lunch and snacks each day Armywide.
In civilian terms, CYS is basically workforce support. It offers programs and services for soldiers such as childcare as well as before- and after-school programs. Its foodservice operation serves two main purposes. The first is meals and snacks appropriate to the time of day the child is being cared for. The second is as enrichment tools to further develop life skills for older children through cooking classes, clubs and even gardens.
Up to this point, there was no Armywide menu standard for CYS. Many of the garrisons have a dietitian on base, but without some level of standardization, there has been very little menu consistency base to base. Come 2017, and thanks to the unique partnership with K State’s child nutrition department, that will change completely.
As part of the pilot, K State introduced potential recipes to Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley, both in Kansas. The staff prepared the dishes on site with Army staff and invited families and children to taste test.
This summer, CYS will host a mass training at K State for 400 cooks and directors. The one-time training program will then get folded into CYS’s program and ongoing onsite training will continue with other cooks and caregivers.