Soldier meals consist of many types of meals: meals eaten at the garrison, meals eaten in the terrain, and mobile meal solutions. On weekdays we prepare four meals per day – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and evening meal – and 3 – 4 meals on the weekends, depending on the customer’s needs. We also take special diets into account in all of our meals.
All meals are planned so as to fulfil the energy requirements of military service. The daily energy provided by the meals is some 3 500 – 4 000 kcal, depending on the energy requirements of the day’s service. Read more about the energy content of our meals.
Our garrison restaurants prepare all meals based on exercise and training situation -specific orders from the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF).
Terrain and field kitchen meals and vessel provisioning
Together with the FDF, the people of Leijona Catering ensure that each soldier receives enough of healthy and tasty food each day – even while on exercises in the terrain. Terrain meals set their own additional requirements for logistics and planning. Under regular conditions, terrain meals are only used during exercises, but in exceptional circumstances they may be needed more frequently.
The meals on the terrain and field menu are designed to be eaten out of the mess kit with the fork and spoon combination.
Instructions for mess kit meals in the terrain
The food is placed in the lower part of the mess kit and the lid is used to hold drinks, bread or fruit/vegetables. When the mess kit is used in this way, the soldier ensures that they receive an adequate amount of food. Using a mess kit bag makes it easier to keep the mess kit clean.
Terrain meals are prepared in garrison kitchens and delivered to the target location in the terrain in thermal containers. At the meal site, FDF directs the distribution of food according to instructions from Leijona Catering. As they finish eating, soldiers must sort their waste according to instructions from the garrison restaurant. The terrain meal menu changes at an interval of five weeks.
Field kitchen meals
Field kitchen meals differ from terrain meals in that they are prepared in the field. The meals are prepared in field kitchens by soldiers who have been trained as field cooks.
We train all field cooks and provide them with instructions and the ingredients to prepare the meals. An instructor from Leijona Catering directs meal preparation, dish and container maintenance, waste assortment and overall operation in the field kitchen during field exercises. In other situations, field kitchen operation, food distribution, dish and container maintenance and waste assortment are the responsibility of FDF.
On naval vessels, meals are prepared by soldiers trained as sea cooks. Garrison restaurants deliver ingredients to the vessels according to recipes designed specifically for their purposes.
Mobile meal solutions
Mobile meals, such as combat rations and lunch bags, are designed to ensure that soldiers’ nutritional needs are met under various conditions – even in situations where the heating of food is not possible because the contingent of troops is in transit. Mobile meals are designed to meet several criteria: they must have long shelf lives, be easy to transport, cater to the needs of different diets, meet the energy requirements of varying situations, be as usable as possible under various weather conditions, and, lastly, be as tasty as possible – which is a matter of the heart for everyone at Leijona Catering.
Field rations are used while on the move
Field rations are used in situations where a soldier and their troop need the day’s meals on the go because they are in transit or when organising centralised food distribution is otherwise not possible.
Each soldier prepares the main course of a field rations package themselves. This preparation only requires the food bag and hot water.
When they eat everything included in a field rations package, soldiers receive enough energy to last them half a day or a full day, depending on the situation.
Lunch bags and packed meals
Lunch bags are a meal option for situations where one of the meals of the service day may be enjoyed flexibly in field conditions over the day’s military instruction with only light organisation. It can stand as a substitute for meal in a situation where the soldier or troop has no access to a garrison restaurant or terrain or field kitchen meal.
Each lunch bag meal provides an equal amount of energy as the meal it replaces. A lunch bag consists of several meal parts depending on the intended use, and they are intended to be enjoyed as is. The products inside the bag do not require cold storage and they are all lactose-free.
On service days when lunch bags are used, the other meals of the day are always served either at the garrison restaurant or as regular terrain or field kitchen meals.
Meals designed to support FDF’S Training 2020 programme
One of the goals of FDF’s Training 2020 programme is to improve the flow of military training to ensure that the time spent waiting and in transit is minimised during the instruction period. Often the distances between garrison restaurants and training sites are long, which means that a lot of time is spent delivering meals to the terrain and organising their distribution. In these situations, the soldiers’ energy needs can be complemented with various mobile meal options. The introduction of the lunch bag, for example, is a measure taken to support the Training 2020 programme’s goal of improving the logistics of military service.