Keeping the Family Connected:

Commissaries encourage patrons to prepare, share meals at home to provide nutritional, financial and relational benefits

FORT LEE, Va. – In the past few years, many of us have made great strides in preparing more home-cooked meals. However, the now manic pace of our post-COVID-19 lives seems to usher in a new level of busyness, tempting us to grab a quick, less nutritious bite at a drive-through.

Throughout the year, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) urges its customers to refocus on preparing home-cooked meals and sharing those together around the dinner table. Using your commissary benefit will amplify the many nutritional, social and financial benefits that go hand in hand with preparing more of your meals at home.

“Engaging the family to prepare a home-cooked meal and share it around the dinner table can have overwhelmingly positive benefits,” said Deborah Harris, DeCA’s health and wellness program manager, MPH, RD, CDE (Master of Public Health, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator). “One of the most significant benefits is improving the nutrition quality of the family diet.”

Preparing and eating meals at home is a better choice for many reasons:

  • Control the nutritional quality, portions, and preparation methods of your food.
    Meals can be more nutritious and may taste better since there is more control and awareness of all the ingredients going into the meal. If you want to choose organic or whole wheat products, ensure maximum nutrition or simply reduce the amount of preservatives, calories or sodium you eat, it is much easier when you choose the ingredients. You can also choose the preparation methods to help reduce fats and preserve the nutritional value of your food.
  • Control the value and cost of your food.
    Dining outside the home can be expensive. When you buy your own food to prepare meals at home, you control your food expenses and the value you get for your money, especially if you use your commissary benefit. Take advantage of the spring and fall sidewalk sales stateside commissaries host to buy in bulk, saving you even more. Also check for special savings deals at your overseas store.
  • Save time.
    It may be surprising but you can actually save time by preparing your meals at home. By the time you drive to a restaurant or wait for the food delivery to arrive, you can have a quick, nutritious meal on the table, especially if you have done a bit of planning. Use the Thinking Outside the Box recipes on for quick and nutritious recipes. Double the recipe and save for later in the week to save even more time.

“Our commissary patrons are at the center of everything we do. Personal and family health and wellness are key priorities for our patrons, so it is vitally important to us,” said Bonita Moffett, DeCA’s sales director. “Throughout the year, we work diligently to provide the products and resources that will support those priorities all while saving big at the checkout.”


By Kathy Milley

DeCA Public Affairs Specialist