Lower-calorie meals for SAF non-combat servicemen

Two cookhouses have been trialling lower-calorie meals for servicemen in non-combat roles since June, as part of efforts by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to serve healthier food.

The meal will be about ¼ lower in calories - between 750 and 800 kcal - compared to about 1,000 kcal for a typical lunch, to help reduce the risk of obesity and chronic diseases.

These servicemen might receive less rice and one less serving of meat.

"The SAF feeds our soldiers well so that they are energised to meet a wide spectrum of operations and training requirements," said chief supply officer Colonel Terry Tan.

"While we recognise that healthy eating is a personal choice, the SAF strives to inculcate in our soldiers lifelong healthy eating habits. These habits will improve their health and consequently benefit the nation."

There are four categories of activities that serve as guidelines for calorie intake for servicemen in different units and roles. The required calories range from 2,500 to 4,000 kcal a day, with more than 500 menu selections to meet these needs.

Soldiers doing strenuous physical activities, such as a 24km route march, will require the most amount of calories, and will be given an additional four snacks on top of three daily meals.

The focus on lower-calorie food is the SAF's latest effort to provide healthier meals since it adopted menu planning guidelines in the early 2000s.

Preparation of cookhouse food has been outsourced to vendors since then.

Since last month, a mix of 20 per cent brown rice with 80 per cent white rice has been served at all SAF cookhouses. This follows a trial that started in August last year.

There is also no added MSG in any of the food served at cookhouses. - THE STRAITS TIMES