Health & Safety

June 21, 2012

Healthy microwave meals

Cpl. Jolene Bopp
Desert Warrior Staff

Station offers cooking class for healthy microwave alternatives

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Marines participated in MCAS Yuma’s first microwave cooking class, June 12 at the station community center.

The class was designed in fall 2011 by two Semper Fit dietitians based in Miramar, Calif. and Quantico, Va., to help Marines get creative with microwavable meals while maintaining healthy eating habits.

“The Microwave Cooking Class includes the creation of three meals: Chicken Chili, Nachos and  Fruit Pizza,” said Nikki Dallam, MCAS Yuma health promotions coordinator, native of Sacramento, Calif. “All attendees will participate in preparing all the meals, ranging from chopping fruits and vegetables, to shredding chicken to mixing the ingredients for all the dishes.”

By involving the Marines, the microwave class shows they are capable of making interesting healthy meals with minimal space and equipment.

“The class was informative and provided a new outlook on generic foods, as well as good food to snack on,” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Erickson, a driver with Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, native of Sacramento, Calif.

In addition to learning how to make microwave meals, Marines can learn about many other healthy decisions.

“All participants learn healthy and easy recipes for themselves and their families,” said Dallam. “It gives everyone an opportunity to ask questions about nutrition and health and discover new ways to enjoy food.  Also, Health Promotions offers an abundant supply of resources, ranging from recipe lists, healthy snacking tips and grocery guides.”

Healthy eating is not the only thing Marines learn about, the course provides Marines a way to save money by making their own food instead of going out to eat. Some Marines may not realize they are spending more money on food than they need to be. The dishes taught during the class are ultimately cheaper and healthier than going out.

“A serving of the bowl of Chicken Chili made in our class today was $0.94 and approximately 245 calories.  A bowl of Chili at Wendy’s is $1.99 plus tax and 340 calories and a bowl at Subway is $1.99 plus tax and 280 calories,” said Dallam.

The microwave cooking class is the only class currently offered but more classes are currently in the works.

“Health Promotions is teaming up with Marine Corps Family Team Building in providing nutrition and healthy cooking classes to Marines, sailors and their families,” added Dallam. “Some of the classes we are looking to offer include: a general healthy cooking class, a healthy baking class and cooking classes tailored for children.”

The microwave cooking class is open to Marines, sailors, families, retirees and MCAS Yuma civilian employees.

“I would definitely recommend this class for barracks Marines,” said Erickson. “It’s good food for relatively cheap.”

Specific dates for the next class are yet to be determined. Units and groups interested in attending the class may schedule a date with Health Promotions at 928-269-6642 or email

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