New commissary displays make it easier to cook more meals at home

New commissary displays make it easier to cook more meals at home

FORT LEE, Va. — Commissary shoppers looking to up their health and wellness game have only to pull out their smartphone and take a photo of one of the new dietitian-approved recipe posters appearing in commissaries worldwide.

“The posters started going up in December 2018, and it’s a concept that meets the busy, health- conscious lifestyles of our customers,” said Qahir Abdur-Raman, who coordinated the printing and distribution of the posters from the Defense Commissary Agency’s marketing directorate. The posters feature a large photo of the prepared recipe along with ingredients and directions for how to prepare it.

It’s not just any recipe, either. It’s dietitian-approved, which means it aligns with the agency’s Nutrition Guide Program that highlights nutrition attributes of low sodium, low fat, whole grain, no added sugar, great source of fiber and encourages patrons to choose mostly fresh produce, lean meats, heart healthy fats, and items with the thumbs up symbol, according to Health and Wellness Program Manager Deborah Harris, MPH, RD, CDE (Masters of Public Health, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator).

“These posters feature meals to help you improve the nutrition quality of your basket while making the most of your benefits,” said Harris. “These meals were created to help maintain the readiness and resilience of our force through a health and wellness context. You can feel confident in knowing these dietitian-approved recipes are nutritious, economical, and will help you cook more meals at home, where it’s easier to control the number of calories and nutrition content of your meals.”

Then there’s the “Take a snapshot. Save this recipe and enjoy,” graphic that drives home the program’s call to action.

“All a customer has to do is use their smartphone to take a photo of the poster, buy the ingredients and then reference the photo when they get home to cook it,” said Abdur-Raman. “The poster has the link to the recipe that’s posted on DeCA’s website ( The ease of being able to plan a dietitian-approved meal is the real beauty of the program.”

The recipe display program is designed to be customized by the stores to coincide with local events and to make it easy for customers to reference. Commissaries have an assortment of 52 posters to display. That’s enough for a new recipe each week.

In addition, customers can visit the DeCA website, where there are over 120 dietitian approved recipes to help meal planning. Many of these recipes are also Thinking Outside the Box meals that help patrons make healthier choices when they cook at home.

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