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Pregnant and Postpartum Soldiers Cook with Corporate Chef

Pregnant and Postpartum Soldiers Cook with Corporate Chef

Article by Spc. Richard Carlisi

Pregnant and postpartum Soldiers with America’s First Corps had the opportunity to prepare healthy and delicious meals that are nutrient-rich, during a class led by Michael Manno, a corporate chef with Custom Culinary headquartered in Illinois, as part of the Army’s Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training (P3T) program and Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) initiative.

“The Army wants the mind, body and spirit to be healthy,” said Manno. “There’s always room for pizza and ice cream cravings during pregnancy, but nutrient-rich foods are also about functionality. What you put in is what you get out.”

Participants had the opportunity to fuse nutrition with flavor, cooking foods with a variety of meats, fruits, vegetables and assorted whole foods.

“We focus on empowering these women about the knowledge of functional foods,” said Manno. “The act of giving birth can be detrimental. It depletes nutrition. It’s all about restoration and regeneration.”

Additional civilian and military chefs assisted by offering tips, tricks and practical cooking advice for the Soldiers’ unique nutritional circumstances.

“I believe this class should be everywhere,” said Sgt. 1st Class Francisco Delgado, a culinary specialist and management NCO with the 564th Quartermaster Company. “As a culinary specialist serving at my level, I believe I have the ability to affect change. We want these pregnant and postpartum Soldiers to know they can also prepare these nutritious meals at home themselves.”

“The first forty days after giving birth are important,” said Manno. “We want these Soldiers to disengage from counting calories. Now is their time for extra calories and fat to restore their bodies.”

By the end of the class, these Soldiers left having gained knowledge surrounding nutrition as it relates to pregnancy and postpartum diets, with the added benefit of deliciousness.

“America’s First Corps supports Soldiers’ nutrition,” said Sgt. 1st Class Lawton, the JBLM P3T Installation Instructor Trainer. “We want to make sure Soldiers are healthy, both physically and mentally, including female Soldiers during and after pregnancy.”

The P3T program is designed to maintain health and fitness levels of pregnant Soldiers, assisting their return to pre-pregnancy fitness levels and reintegration to unit training, while the H2F initiative aims to optimize Soldiers’ personal readiness and improve the health and fitness of the force by providing optimal care and support for Soldiers.

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