The Guns and Rockets dining facility at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, has become the first US Army location to offer soldiers plant-based options on its menu for every meal. The change came after food adviser for the 75th Artillery Brigade, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jeremy Patterson, received a suggestion card from a soldier asking for more plant-based options in the dining hall.
Although the comment was submitted due to the soldier’s religious beliefs, Patterson — who is a long-time vegan — jumped at the opportunity to introduce plant-based options to the facility’s menu. The move to bring in more healthful meal options is hoped to help the army deal with a variety of diet-related health issues that today’s soldiers face, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
In demonstrating just how easy a change to a plant-based diet can be, the Fort Sill facility hasn’t completely changed the menu, opting instead to make smart swaps.
They use things like black beans in place of chicken in the enchiladas on Taco Tuesday and tofu instead of beef in stir-fry. And it’s going down very well with the soldiers: The plant-based options are selling out.
With veganism on the rise in the US, and with many international athletes crediting a plant-based diet for superior physical and mental performance, it’s unsurprising that the Army is now watching this trend closely.
While Army facilities are not required to offer vegan options unless a soldier specifically requests them, Patterson hopes that other locations will be inspired by Fort Sill and take on board the lessons they have learned: namely, that if they are going to offer soldiers plant-based options, they need to do it right, with the food tasting great and being well presented.