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The Navy is trying to raise the nutritional bar for sailors with its Go-Green Program

Crew prepares for lunch in the galley of Naval Station Norfolk, March 13, 2024. Steve Walsh
Crew prepares for lunch in the galley of Naval Station Norfolk, March 13, 2024. Steve Walsh

The galley at Naval Station Norfolk is the place where young sailors living in the barracks eat most of their meals.

They can’t cook in their rooms and they don’t have the budget to eat outside the base. The Navy is using the captive audience to promote better nutrition by providing an increasing number of fruits and vegetables. 

“By … the end of the day, dinnertime, we have to replenish every single thing all over again. And we have to maintain a weekly stock of produce and vegetables, because, I mean, they're killing it. They love it,” said Chief Warrant Officer Larry Lovell, the galley’s food service officer.

Nutrition charts throughout the galley make it easier for sailors to identify the best options - green for most fruits and vegetables and red for starchy potato salad. 

“It's just a program to make it super easy for sailors to come in, with a simple green, red and yellow kind of like a stop light, right? So red is for the kind of foods you kind of need to stay away from,” said Lovell, who has been in Navy food service for 20 years. 

Part of the success is that sailors must meet annual physical requirements and are often preparing to deploy, so they have an incentive to eat better.

“Initially it was set up because some sailors didn’t know exactly what was healthy. They may have grown up on fast food. At least we can show them the healthy options,” he said. 

 The Go-Green Program is a Department of Defense-wide program. The Navy began implementing it in 2016, but it continues to expand the options each quarter.

Steve joined WHRO in 2023 to cover military and veterans. Steve has extensive experience covering the military and working in public media, most recently at KPBS in San Diego, WYIN in Gary, Indiana and WBEZ in Chicago. In the early 2000s, he embedded with members of the Indiana National Guard in Kuwait and Iraq. Steve reports for NPR’s American Homefront Project, a national public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Steve is also on the board of Military Reporters & Editors.

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