4.  What is the food like in basic?

The food is pretty standard fare.  At breakfast, you'll find the usual bacon, sausage and sometimes hash.  You won't find omelettes to order (you'll get this at your first duty station), but you'll see scrambled eggs.  Also on the line is pancakes, waffles, French Toast and the like (usually rotates throughout the week).  You'll even have fried potatoes or hash browns.  Also included will be dry cereal, sometimes oatmeal and always fruit.  More breakfast bars also have yogurt.  To drink they have, water, milk and OJ.

Lunch and dinner are heavy meals, with lots of calories.  You'll see roasts, baked chicken, pork chops and lots of ground beef meals, some fish too.  You'll also have a starch to go with that, such as potatoes, rice or noodles.  Lots of gravy usually.  Veggies are mostly canned.  You'll see a basic salad bar.  Your first drink will also have to be water, then you can go back and get milk or Kool-aid.  The desserts are surprisingly rich..lots of cream pies and cakes with frostings.  Of course, also fruit.  If you are even the slightest bit overweight or doing badly in PT, the drill sergeants will make you pass up the yummy desserts though.  Again, lots of heavy, starchy foods.  A "favorite" most often seen food is Chili Mac.  The dining facility managers have a budget, just like anyone else.  Chili Mac is cheap!  At graduation, if your manager has budgeted well, you'll see something like steak and shrimp for the lunch meal on graduation (where you can bring your guests).  Some managers are also making a greater effort to serve ethnic fare, so that will depend on where you go for BT and which dining facility will be yours.  Believe it or not throughout basic, you'll probably be somewhat hungry throughout the day.  You burn A LOT of calories in basic and you'll find yourself thinking about food often.

Once you start going out to the ranges, you'll have food brought out to you in insulated containers (mostly lunch, although when you're doing your overnights in the field, you'll get breakfast and dinner also).  A few recruits will get picked to man the chow line and you'll go through with paper trays.   You'll see the same food that is being served back at the chow hall, although you may run out of one thing or another and desserts will be some kind of packaged item.  Things also don't tend to stay quite as hot.  You also tend to get less if you are a large company (sometimes if you are lucky, you'll be able to go back for seconds, ie if the dining facility manager goofed and sent out too much).  In the field, you'll also eat a few MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), vacuum-packed fare, some of which tastes okay.  You can read more about MREs at the link below:


Read more posts on food at basic below:

Posted by Sarah on 3/24/2002, 9:43 pm
I'm a vegetarian and am wondering if I will have a problem in BT regarding keeping myself nourished and what-not. I am also worried because I am usually starving two hours after each meal and feel dizzy and faint if I can't eat regularly. I have heard mixed things about meat/no meat choices. Also, should I tell anyone that I'm a vegetarian?Thanks!

Re: Food/Vegetarian
Posted by Raquel on 3/25/2002, 8:11 am , in reply to "Food/Vegetarian"
I am not a vegetarian myself, so I can't relate my own experience. I can tell you that we have had vegetarians at BT. The dining facility does have non-meat choices, but the "pickings can be slim". Plus there is always a salad bar for lunch and dinner (not always when you eat what is called "field chow" at a training site though). The bad part is that you can only eat three times a day (no carrying food out of the dining facility or stashing away any goodies)....no snacking, which I know can be hard! Even "meat eaters" will be starving by each meal due to the large amounts of calories that you burn. So, it can be done, but it can also be difficult (ie heavy starches, canned veggies drenched in butter, etc...foods along those lines).

will I starve at basic?
Posted by Tig on 12/20/2001, 9:07 pm
LOL. But seriously, I've been a vegetarian for about 20 years now and I get ill at the taste of meat. My recruiter assured me that they'll have vegetarian food, but I don't expect the army caters to that much in basic. I'm wondering what is the reality of what to expect? Tig

Re: will I starve at basic?
Posted by Raquel on 12/20/2001, 10:46 pm , in reply to "will I starve at basic?"
Well, you're right...if you're used to good vegetarian meals (ie main course dishes), you won't get that in the Army! But, the Army does make an effort with what's available. There will always be plenty of starches in the "hot" food category..you'll see lots of potatoes here!..Canned veggies are mostly bland with lots of butter, although you may see some freshly cooked veggies. When you're not the last company through the chow hall, you will always find the salad bar fully stocked. There you will find most of the things your average salad bar has. Drink-wise..your first glass will always have to be water. Otherwise, you can count on strong Koolaid..some posts have a Gatorade-type drink now also. In the morning you will find juice and also milk. As far as fish (if your diet also includes it), you rarely see any fresh..you may see some frozen varieties, heavily breaded..but that's about it. In the mornings, you'll have eggs, potatoes/hash browns, a few types of cold cereals, fresh fruit (that's at all meals too), oatmeal, grits, pancakes..that kind of thing..a very heavy breakfast, although the bfast bar, in addition to the cold cereals, you will find yogurt and fruits there also. Now if you can just wolf everything down in about 10 min, you'll be set:-)) Good luck!

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