Recipes offer quick, nutritious, economical meal ideas

Defense Commissary Agency

Thinking outside the box, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is to explore creative and unusual ideas, not limited by rules or tradition. The Defense Commissary Agency’s Thinking Outside the Box recipes do just that.

Typically, when choosing recipes to prepare at home, they may be quick and economical but not healthy, or healthy and economical but not quick. DeCA’s Thinking Outside the Box recipes deliver on all three attributes.

“Preparing nutritious food at home does not have to be difficult or expensive,” said Deborah Harris, DeCA’s dietitian and health and wellness program manager (who holds a master of Public Health degree and is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist). “These recipes, found on, offer meal solutions that are quick, healthy and are designed to always save you money.”

Every two weeks, a new “Thinking Outside the Box” recipe is featured in the commissary sales flyer highlighting specially priced ingredients in your store. These recipes feature a key nutrient and always align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans so you can be sure they are healthy and economical.

To make it even easier for our customers shopping online, all the ingredients for the featured “Thinking Outside the Box” recipe can be added to their online shopping basket with one click. “Thinking Outside the Box” recipes are always accessible on under the “Healthy Living” tab. This library features quick and easy, dietitian-approved recipes for appetizers, entrees, salads, side dishes and even desserts. While choosing your recipes for the week, visit the Healthy Habits and Resources tabs to learn about meal nutrition, stretching your food dollar, using leftovers and setting nutrition goals.

To get you started on your Thinking Outside the Box meal planning, DeCA has prepared a booklet, available for download on, which includes tips from our dietitian, a list of recipe substitutions to make your recipes more nutritious, and a list of our Thinking Outside the Box recipes along with a close-up introduction to some of our favorites.

“The best way to improve the nutrition quality of your diet is to cook more meals at home, limiting the number of times you choose food prepared outside the home allowing you to control the nutrition quality of your ingredients and serving size.” said Harris.

“Incorporating ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ recipes along with the other dietitian-approved recipes featured on to your weekly menu plan will have positive effects on your waistline and your wallet,” she added. “And don’t forget to try Commissary Click2Go. Building your basket with our dietitian-approved recipe ingredients is just a click away.”

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