Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

METC trains dietician techs to build, support a Medically Ready Force

Military health personnel preparing food trays while wearing a face mask Air Force Master Sgt. Jorge Nikolas, a student in the Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, prepares a tray of steaks in the kitchen training laboratory.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness

Good nutrition is the mainstay of health. It is well known that eating the right foods can oftentimes make a big impact on our physical - and mental - wellbeing.

A healthy diet could help fight off illness and control diseases, improve our mood and mental health, and prevent obesity. In fact, the benefits of healthful eating are so well established that medical practitioners employ nutrition therapy to treat certain diseases and chronic conditions.

National Nutrition Month, observed during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating habits along with physical activity. Being that health and fitness are synonymous with force readiness, it's no surprise that nutrition plays an important role in the military.

The Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC), located on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, trains students to become Army nutrition care specialists or Air Force diet therapy apprentices.

The eight-week long course prepares students to function as entry-level dietetic technicians in medical treatment facilities and deployed settings. Students are taught to perform patient nutrition screenings and assessments, basic medical nutrition therapy, menu and food modification for therapeutic use, how to operate and clean food service equipment, and participate in procurement, storing and administration of dietetic foods and supplies. Students also learn how to prepare an individually-tailored meal based on a nutrition plan designed by a dietician and serve it to a patient.

Military health personnel wearing face mask speaking to each other
Army Pvt. Tobin Roche, left, conducts a simulated nutrition screening during a practical exercise in the Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In this portion of the training Roche is learning to conduct nutritional screenings, assessments, and document finding for a simulated patient.  Maj. Stephanie Gasper, program director, acts as the patient in this scenario. The METC Nutrition and Diet Therapy program prepares students to function as entry-level dietetic technicians in medical treatment facilities and deployed settings (Photo By: Lisa Braun, Medical Education and Training Campus).

According to Army Maj. Stephanie Gasper, METC Nutrition and Diet Therapy program director, the diversity of the career field covers a wide range of areas that promote and maintain nutrition, health, and readiness within the force.

"Military nutrition technicians can work in food service operations and medical field feeding, sports nutrition to optimize performance and support the warfighter, nutrition for general health and wellness or disease prevention, or perform patient care through medical nutrition therapy for diseases or other conditions in both a hospital and inpatient or ambulatory settings," she explained.

"I think there are so many opportunities for soldiers and airmen in the nutrition career field today compared to several years ago, so I'm excited for what lays ahead of them once they leave here. The majority of our students are excited and ready to take what they learn here to improve the health of our force," Gasper added.

Air Force Master Sgt. Jorge Nikolas, a student in the program, said that Nutrition and Diet Therapy is his dream career field. "The military allowed me to get this training so that I can make a positive impact to the long-term health of my fellow airmen and soldiers. With a large aging population, the country needs more skilled diet therapists to help our currently serving and retired military customers."

The importance of good nutrition cannot be over emphasized.

"Everyone has to eat, and what we eat and how much we eat can have a real impact on our physical and mental wellbeing," Gasper pointed out.

You also may be interested in...

Six Immediate Health Benefits You Will See If You Lose a Little Weight

Article
1/14/2022
A soldier assigned to the 256th Combat Support Hospital, Twinsburg, Ohio, drinks water from a gallon-sized jug during Combat Support Training Exercise 18-03 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, March 26, 2018. The 256th CSH implemented a goal setting competition, dubbed Dandy Camp, to teach and encourage soldiers to monitor their total carbohydrate intake during the field exercise. The overall goal of Dandy Camp is to educate soldiers about healthy eating choices and encourage soldiers to set and meet goals for themselves.

Losing even a little weight now can have a major impact on your health and quality of life. This long list of benefits might help motivate you to adjust your habits to achieve a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Women's Health | Heart Health | Nutritional Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Sleep

The British 'Limeys' Were Right: A Short History of Scurvy

Article
1/10/2022
Scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C, sickened sailors who had no access to fresh food supplies, and killed more than 2 million sailors between the 16th and 18th centuries alone.

How citrus fruits quelled the scourge of scurvy.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Nutritional Fitness | Military Medical History

Safe and Effective Weight Loss

Video
1/5/2022
Effective Weight Loss

If you're resolving to lose weight in 2022, make sure to do it safely by avoiding crash and yo-yo diets. Talk to your doctor to make a plan for the safest and most effective way for you to manage a healthy weight in 2022. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement for even more tips.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Nutritional Fitness | Physical Fitness

Quality of Life

Video
1/5/2022
Quality of Life

Nearly half of people making resolutions for the new year are resolving to lose weight. While there are several long-term benefits to losing weight - avoiding or managing other chronic health conditions among them - losing just a little bit of weight right now can have immediate effects on your quality of life. From less joint pain to more energy to better sleep, you can start seeing and feeling the benefits of healthy weight loss nearly right away. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Dietary Supplements: Educate Yourself First Before Trying Them

Article
12/28/2021
Photo of a dinner plate with food and dietary supplements next to it

Operation Supplement Safety is your one-stop guide to dietary supplement information

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Weight Management for Lasting Health

Don’t Underestimate Mother Nature: Winter Safety Tips for Cold Weather

Article
12/23/2021
Military Personnel training

Don’t fool with Mother Nature in the winter: Be prepared

Recommended Content:

Environmental Fitness | Winter Safety | Total Force Fitness

Hearing Problems Decline

Photo
12/14/2021
Soldiers wear hearing protection while firing an M3 multi-role anti-armor antipersonnel weapon system during live-fire training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Sept. 15, 2021.

Hearing loss in the Department of Defense continues to decrease for service members and civilians enrolled in hearing conservation programs.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Conditions and Treatments

Ask the Doc: How Do I Get Rid of the 'Dark Cloud' Over My Holidays?

Article
12/13/2021
A mask hanging on a Christmas tree

Doc talks to Jane Olien, a licensed clinical social worker assigned to Behavioral Health Clinical Operations, part of the DHA’s Medical Affairs/Clinical Support Division, in San Antonio, Texas, about combatting feelings of depression around the holidays.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Ask The Doc

Meet the First Coast Guard Sponsored USU Medical Student

Article
12/9/2021
US Coast Guard Ensign Bobczynski smiles at camera

U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate Ensign Elyse Bobczynski is the first USCG-sponsored student to attend medical school at the Uniformed Services University.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Self-Care is as Easy as Downloading an App

Article
12/3/2021

Those in the military or medical field face unique situations that cause for overwhelming distractions. The DHA Connected Health Branch provides several tools that promote mental well-being and help develop self-care habits.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Military Mental Health Podcasts

Wounded Warriors and Caregivers Online Resources

Article
11/29/2021
Airmen race for a loose ball during an Air Force Wounded Warrior basketball game

The Defense Department programs listed here are staffed with nearly 800 recovery care coordinators and case managers who are standing by to respond to individual queries.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Warrior Care

Mental Stress is like a ‘Check Engine Light’ Flashing–Don’t Ignore It

Article
11/29/2021
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David talks about his  journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program during a video conversation with Defense Health Agency Command Sgt. Major Michael Gragg.

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David speaks about his own journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Warrior Care | Warrior Care – A Virtual Show of Strength | Psychological Fitness

Army Recovery Care Coordinator Guides Veterans, Caregivers in Recovery

Article
11/12/2021

A warrior care coordinator shares how she supports recovering service members, their families and caregivers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | IHD COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center for Health Care Personnel | Immunization Healthcare

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

Giving Back Helps Veteran Caregiver Connect with Military Caregivers

Article
11/10/2021
Veteran caregiver, Diane Hupko with U.S. Army veteran she cares for smile at camera

Giving back helps veteran caregiver connect with other military caregivers to build a community of support.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 43

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.