The food in the chow halls was not very good. I may have gained ten pounds in basic, but that was only because I was eating three meals a day. Before I went in the military I was too busy partying and running around to eat regularly. Anywho, like I said the food in the chow halls wasn't very good and I ate a lot at the BX cafeteria and snack bars on base and had pizzas and other stuff off-base. After I made E-4 I was able to go on 'separate rats' (separate rations) which gave me about forty bucks (whatever they figured it cost for a months worth of meals in the chow hall) a month to eat on and meant if I were to eat at the chow hall, I would have to pay for the meal as I no longer had a meal pass. When I was at Dow Airplane Patch, I used to go for midnight chow fairly often. You had to get a pass from the CQ in the barracks and the chow hall started serving around 10 pm or 10:30 pm. It was basically breakfast and sometimes even the grits were good. Which meant I ate breakfast before going to bed and didn't bother eating in the morning before going to work. I could sleep later.
At K.I. I would go off-base to get pasties (rhymes with nasty, not hasty which would be a nipple covering and they are usually not edible).
As for the meals I ate at the BX, they were mostly hamburgers, chili dogs and other stuff on that order. I still remember the chili on the chili dogs as being super thick from sitting under the lights all day. On the weekends I would get a pizza or something off-base. That is basically how I survived while in the military. When I was at Otis on Cape Cod, I only ate one meal in the chow hall and that was while very hungover on Xmas day because no other place was open on that day. (And that was not the last time I had trouble finding a place to eat on Xmas day. While in Anniston, AL in the mid-80's I had the same problem.)
For my last meal at Otis, I was searching for any and all loose change to come up with enough money to get something at the snack bar because I was broke until I got my final paycheck the next morning along with my discharge.