Soldiers have said they no longer want unhealthy pasties in their packed lunches  - Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Soldiers have said they no longer want unhealthy pasties in their packed lunches – Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Pies and pasties are being replaced with salads for soldiers as the Ministry of Defence puts the military on a diet.

As part of a new campaign designed to improve the diets of military personnel pastry based food items will be swapped with nutritious pasta salads, wraps and wholemeal sandwiches.

The recently launched Army EATS campaign, which aims to explore the appetites of today’s soldiers, conducted research into the kind of packed lunches soldiers would prefer while travelling in transit.

As well no longer wanting “sausage rolls and pasties”, the feedback showed soldiers would rather fresh juice or water instead of “fizzy pop” and preferred healthy popcorn to packets of crisps.

While creating the new packed lunches, the Defence Nutrition Advisory Service (DNAS) at the Institute of Naval Medicine undertook the nutritional analysis to ensure the transit meal reduced the amount of added sugars, increased fibre and added fruit and vegetable contents.

A defence source said: “The younger generation of soldiers today are savvy and smarter about what they are eating.

“Lifestyles change and food choices change too. People today are hugely more aware of healthy eating.” It is understood that the army is working to reflect the latest thinking and broader trends around healthy nutrition, so that it is “relevant to our soldiers in the 21st century”.

The new healthy packed lunches, which cost an extra £2.26 extra per person to prepare, are just one of a number of initiatives being developed within the army to support personnel with healthier food and drink options. These include schemes to improve food labelling, providing affordable, healthy core meals, and self-help initiatives such as the ‘Healthy Soldier Cookbook.’

Healthier hot food choices in the mess are also being discussed, as well as enabling cooking in accommodation blocks and will be put to personnel through surveys.

The army has secured funding for six pilot schemes to act on the findings.

An Army spokesman said: “We take the health and wellbeing of our soldiers very seriously. A comprehensive review of food services in barracks is underway which is updating nutritious menu options and upgrading catering facilities to encourage a healthy lifestyle.”

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