Kadena hosts healthy cooking class
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The Health and Wellness Center hosts a cooking class for the Airmen at Kadena Air Base annually in celebration of National Nutrition Month, with the most recent class being March 19 here.
This event encourages Airmen to learn healthy cooking techniques that are not only quick, but affordable. For those who do not like eating packages of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) during exercises or can't make many food dishes, this class shows Airmen how to make something fast, edible and nutritious.
"We teach how to take the foods you enjoy and create a healthy alternative that tastes just as good so you don't have to cut them out," said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Randolph, 18th Aerospace Medicine Squadron diet technician.
During the demonstration, the Airmen were shown why labels on products should be compared and to know not all food is created equal. The Airmen were also taught how to make quick and healthy meals they enjoy, such as salmon with a loaded potato, homemade sweet potato chips, southwestern bean dip and fruit infused water, while using a microwave.
"We cooked with wild salmon instead of farm raise salmon, because when you eat meat, you should worry about what the animal ate," said Bret Kungler, 18th AMDS registered dietitian. "Farm fed salmon is given wheat for food, and there isn't any wheat in the ocean, so it takes away healthy omega three fatty acids from the meat and takes away its benefit."
Additionally, the class stressed the importance of portion size and control, the order food should be eaten in and how most Americans go above their requiremed nutrient and substance levels. Randolph said everyday ingredients like sugar are often eaten in great excess.
"The average person consumes 146 to 160 pounds of sugar annually, when they only need 10 teaspoons for men and six teaspoons for women daily," Randolph said. "Also, eating your vegetables first and your meat last will help make you feel fuller quicker and help control the proper portion of meat consumed, which is only three ounces per day."
While Randolph told how to make healthy food selections, she also understood that not everyone has access to certain foods due to their station's location or the budget for more expensive items.
"When you shop, you have to make the best selection for your lifestyle," Randolph said.
Tech. Sgt. Brian Granger, 18th Communications Squadron security manager, said he really enjoyed the opportunity to take the class.
"This class helped me greatly," Granger said. "I am always on the go, and I didn't realize I could make a healthy meal that quickly that tastes great too."
For more information about nutrition and healthy eating, call the Health and Wellness Center at 634-2499.