DeCA: More than just a grocery story

October 04, 2018


Your commissary is a constant in your military life no matter where you’re stationed.  We’ve worked hard to help you and your family meet the rigors of military life without needing to worry about if your local grocery store carries that particular brand or food you had when you were overseas.  We’ve gone a step further and developed some tools for you to make it easier to fill your basket with nutritionally dense food using our Nutrition Guide Program and make easy dietitian-approved meals at home for your family.  We care about our military families and we are dedicated in doing our part to support mission readiness and resilence by providing scientifically credible, dietitian approved information and assisting you with making the most of your commissary benefit and food dollars by putting items on promotion or reducing their cost and then using them to develop dietitian approved meal suggestions.  We hope you will continue to make memories with us and also make meals and memories at home together!



The only dietitian-approved nutrition labeling program in a worldwide grocery store, it helps you choose items to meet your health and wellness needs.  Our labels are color coded to make it easy for you to see the nutrition attributes of low fat, high in fiber, no added sugar, whole grain, and low in sodium at a glance.  We also added a tag for USDA Organic for those who prefer it.


We worked with key DOD agency and service branch health and wellness leads to build a program that focuses on the nutrition quality of items while minimizing excess fat, sodium and sugars.  The program aligns closely with what is being taught in the dining facilities with the green, yellow and red coded foods. Items that align closely with the Green category (high nutrition quality/high performance foods) in Go for Green will have a “Thumbs Up” icon displayed on the NGP label.



Quick, easy, economical, tasty dietitian-approved meal solutions.  Don’t know what to make for dinner?  Check out one of our meals, like the Grilled Fish Burgers with Cucumber Dill Sauce, to try something you might not have considered before while learning how Omega-3 fatty acids may help you lower the risk of heart disease.  You don’t need to be an expert chef to make these or have special kitchen equipment, you can even make the High Performance Oatmeal in your hotel room using a coffee pot.   Ask commissary director which is the current featured meal because the shelf stable items will be 20 percent reduced in cost.  Also to further assist you try using all of our meals to plan your menu learn a little bit more about nutrition Thinking Outside the Box Meals .



As part of your community we feature articles from DoD health experts.

  • Learn how you can use chocolate milk to fuel you after your workouts from Maj. Bethany Belanger, PhD, RD, LD, CSCS.
  • How you can optimize your performance through food from Maj. Benjamin Wunderlich, MS, RD, CSSD and Whitney Carrington, MS, CHES, representing the Performance Triad.
  • Things you can try if your kid is a picky eater at any age from CPT. Kathleen Robins, MS, RDN, CSSD, CSOWM, chief of the Nutrition Care Division at Keller Army Community Hospital, West Point, NY.


We know one of the challenges when people first come into the military is they may not have developed the cooking skills to make something beyond a microwaved meal so we’ve worked with several installation level organizations to make it easier and fun to learn these skills.  The Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program are using our meal solutions to help teach cooking skills and nutrition to help the readiness and resilience of the force.    Our programs are easy to understand and because they are dietitian approved, their use can be easily taught by non-medical professionals.


To ensure the safety of all our products we worked with Operation Supplement Safety (OPSS) to add another check in the process.  We built it into our process that before presenting a product to us, they have to verify it doesn’t contain any DoD banned substances.


Our dietitian approved materials have been built into TRADOC, the Navy’s PFA app, and the Uniformed Services University, Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) app and are being used by medical professionals on installations to promote health, teach cooking, and supplement instruction related to body composition classes.


Our DeCA dietitian, Deborah Harris, MPH, RD, CDE states that “Studies show that cooking more meals at home is one key strategy to improving the overall nutrition quality of a diet”.  Not every meal has to be considered “perfectly nutritious”, either.  She challenges you to decrease the number of times you eat out a week by at least 1/3 and use our resources to cook more meals at home for one month.  For most people, they will save a substantial amount of money and may even experience a little shrinkage in their waistlines.