Table of Champions

By Guest Contributor Audrey Bamford, Health Promotions Major at Liberty and heptathlete

It’s no secret that Liberty University trains Champions for Christ. But what fuels champions? The new Training Table at the Food Court at Reber-Thomas is one of the new additions to food services on campus. With menus created by Sodexo’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Robin Quay,  a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods such as lean, high-quality proteins and healthy fat sources are offered. There are also nutrient-dense carbohydrates including whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables to provide the energy needed for that competitive edge. All the meals serve correct portions of each food group, making healthy eating easy! The training table menu was formulated to meet the demands for the nourishment, training fuel and recovery for the school’s NCAA Division I athletes. However, the Training Table is open to the entire student body!

Training Table 1

Chicken lettuce wraps at the Training Table!

The balanced meals offered at the Training Table are complimented with a variety of resources to help students/athletes learn and understand about what is being served. Our fuel is top of the line! The nutrition content of every food item is displayed on large digital screens. This also includes a barcode that is linked to MyFitnessPal, an app where students can scan and track their daily food intake.

Soba noodle salad at the Training Table!

Soba noodle salad at the Training Table!

Be a champion! Start fueling and training your body to be a champion at the Training Table at the Food Court at Reber-Thomas!

Join us at the Training Table!

Join us at the Training Table!

Whole Grain Salad at the Training Table!

Whole Grain Salad at the Training Table!

Fish with pineapple salsa, Asian flavored brown rice and stir-fried vegetables at the Training Table!

Fish with pineapple salsa, Asian flavored brown rice and stir-fried vegetables at the Training Table!

“Grits Bowl”-a Great Breakfast Idea!

Robin Quay, MS, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist for Sodexo

A few weeks ago, I was down in North Carolina, and I went to this great place for breakfast called Foster’s Market. I ordered a grits bowl, which was grits, topped with a fried egg, black beans, salsa and cheese. I also got a side of bacon. It looked like this:


And it was heavenly.

It made me wonder if I could make it at home.

I had some fancy grits that I got in a Christmas basket, 

photo 1

and the package had a recipe on the back for cheesy grits, so that’s where I started. You can use regular grits-you don’t need anything special. Besides the grits recipe, you will also need 3 eggs, 3 Tbsp of black beans, 3 Tbsp of salsa and 3 Tbsp of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. The recipe makes 3 Grits Bowls.


1 ¼ cup milk

1 ¼ cup water

½ cup uncooked grits 

¼ tsp salt

2 Tbsp. butter

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar

¼ cup shredded parmesan

pinch of white pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper

pinch of ground nutmeg

Bring water and milk to a boil. (Watch carefully. My first attempt burned and boiled over and I had to start again) Slowly stir in grits.

Reduce heat and continue cooking , stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the grits are thick and tender.

Stir in salt, butter, cheeses, and seasonings.

Grits should be creamy. Add more water and milk while cooling if necessary to retain creamy quality.

Makes 3 servings.

photo 3

Once the grits were cooked, I fried the eggs the way I like them, over easy. You can make yours however you like them! Then I assembled the grits bowls. Into each of 3 bowls, I placed 1/3 of the cheesy grits. I topped the grits with a fried egg, a Tbsp. of black beans, a Tbsp. of salsa, and a Tbsp. of shredded cheddar cheese. You could add other toppings as well-avocado or guacamole might be good! I had some leftover roasted red and green peppers, and I threw them on top.

photo 2


Then I started wondering, could this be put together at the The Food Court at Reber-Thomas? I think so! There’s breakfast all day at the Rise & Shine Station, so on the days grits are offered, you could get a bowl of grits, and top it with some scrambled egg. Then you could head over to Sparky’s Cantina and top it with cheese, black beans and salsa…and even guacamole! Yum!

Squash Muffins!

Robin Quay, MS, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Sodexo

It seems like yellow squash is in abundance this summer. It’s a healthy vegetable providing a good source of vitamin C and many B vitamins. It also has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It’s anti-oxidant properties are especially important for eye health, as they help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. Yellow squash has also been shown to help keep blood sugar levels and insulin metabolism in balance.

I found myself with a plethora of yellow squash, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Yellow squash and zucchini are in the same vegetable family, so I wondered if they could be used interchangeably in recipes. You’ve heard of zucchini bread and zucchini muffins. I wondered if yellow squash could be used in zucchini’s place! I decided to try it, and squash muffins were born!

I used the whole wheat zucchini bread recipe from, and swapped out grated yellow squash for zucchini. I recommend their blog. It’s one of my favorites, and there is tons of good advice and recipes there.



  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour (I used Kroger brand white whole-wheat flour)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup oil (I used coconut oil)
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups grated zucchini (I used 3 cups of grated yellow squash)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional – I used walnuts)


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F for small loaf pans or 325 degrees F for large loaf pan or muffins.
  2. Blend the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oil, honey, and vanilla.
  4. Make a well (or hole) in the center and pour in the liquid ingredients. Stir just until mixed – do not overmix.
  5. Fold in the grated zucchini and chopped nuts if using.
  6. Pour batter into greased loaf pan(s) or muffin tins and bake until a toothpick comes clean in the top/center of the loaf or muffin.
- If using smaller pans bake for 30 – 40 minutes. 
- For one larger loaf pan bake for 50 – 60 minutes.
- For muffins bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

It made 22 muffins. These muffins freeze well!

Copyright 2012 @100 days of real food. all rights reserved.

Here’s the result! They were a big hit, and fairly healthy. I think I will add raisins to my next batch, for a little extra sweetness!


The Daniel Plan

By Robin Quay, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian for Sodexo

Only God can change lives. God used the Daniel Plan to change mine.

A year ago, my manager suggested we start running together. Then, she found the Daniel Plan and suggested I teach it at Liberty.
A month later, I started the first of many sessions of The Daniel Plan at Liberty.
I don’t believe in expecting others to do something that I wouldn’t do myself, so I followed the plan as well. I learned that my body belonged to God, and because of that, I was motivated to take good care of it. I was faithful in exercising. I changed my diet to whole, real foods made by God.
A year has passed. I have led the Daniel Plan 5 times, and I’m ready to start the sixth endeavor, leading it again for Liberty students, faculty and staff. I have gone from walking the dogs to running a half marathon. I have lost 30+ pounds. I have made some wonderful friends. And I have grown closer to God.
These tools are available for everyone. If you want to know more about how God wants you to be a good steward of the body He entrusted to you, join me for The Daniel Plan. We will be meeting Tuesday nights for six weeks, starting January 28. The group will meet in the Reber-Thomas Executive Dining Room from 5:30 – 6:30. Call 582-2262 to sign up.

Baked Apple “Fries”

By Robin Quay,MS, RD, Sodexo Dietitian
I’m always looking for new, fun and fresh ways to serve healthy foods. I ran across this idea as part of The Daniel Plan (, and I thought I’d try them as a unique, interesting and healthy side dish.
Apples are a good source of Vitamin C, heart healthy and high in fiber. They are a great choice for one of the many fruit and veggie servings needed each day for good health.
Here’s how I made the apple fries:
2 Granny Smith apples (or other firm, tart apples)
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkling of sea salt
Sprinkling of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
Core, peel and slice apples into sticks. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and cinnamon and toss to coat. (I think using your hands to do this works best). Place apple sticks in a single layer on the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Makes 4 servings. 105 calories, 12 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fat, 0.5 grams protein, 4 mg Vitamin C, 1.5 mg fiber
Here’s how they turned out:
apple fries
They were a little mushy, but they tasted great! Next time I make them, I’m going to bump the temperature up to 450 degrees and use the convection feature, to see if I can get them more firm and crispy on the outside.
Have fun experimenting with this recipe, and let me know how it turns out!

Tips for Affordable, Healthful Grocery Shopping

Robin Quay, MS, RD, Dietitian for Sodexo

People often tell me that the main reason they don’t eat foods that are beneficial for them is because nutritious foods cost more. Yes, fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein are expensive, but so are unhealthy foods. As I did my shopping last week, I noticed that a 10 ounce bag of Lays potato chips cost $4.29, a 12 pack of Coke was $4.99, a 1.5 quart container of Breyer’s ice cream was $6.29, it cost $4.99 for a 1 pound 3 ounce pack of Oreos, and 17 ounces of Honey Nut Cheerios was $4.19. Since I didn’t buy ANY of those things, I had $24.75 to spend on more delicious and nutritious items.

Here are some tips to help you get the most nutrition and taste from your food dollar:

Have a plan. My kids’ middle school planners had a saying in them: “We don’t plan to fail; we fail to plan”. The same is true for food shopping and healthy eating.

Before you go to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. Look through your pantry and refrigerator and see what needs to be used up, and plan meals around those foods. That way, you won’t have to buy as much, and you won’t throw out as much due to spoilage. For example, this week, we are eating some chili that’s in the freezer, and using up some spinach greens that I bought last week.

Plan at least one meatless meal each week. Meat’s expensive, so you can save a lot of money by omitting it from an occasional meal. Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite meatless dinners:

Look at your grocery store’s circular and plan your meals around protein and produce items that are on special. If chicken thighs and broccoli are a good deal, then you’ll want to use them. However, be aware and avoid the many unhealthy and processed foods that are in the circular as well. NOBODY needs a pop-tart, no matter how cheap they are!

Make a list. Be sure to include foods for breakfast, lunch and snacks-not just for dinners. Don’t forget the list at home! Take it with you, and stick to it. Only buy what you need.

Here’s the exception to buying only what you need: IF something is a GREAT DEAL, and IF you can store it so it won’t spoil before it’s used, and IF you’ll use it all, and IF you have the money, then stock up on it. Just be sure to properly store it when you get home, which may include putting it into smaller containers. Studies show that when we bring a lot of food home, we tend to eat more.

Once you get to the store, shop the perimeter for nutrient dense, unprocessed foods (vegetables, fruits, meats/seafood, eggs and dairy). Shop wisely in the center aisles, as there are healthy foods there, too. That’s where you’ll find whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, wheat bread and oatmeal. Canned and dried legumes like lentils, split peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, cannellini beans and chick peas are great, inexpensive sources of protein, fiber, and iron. Other nutritious and healthy finds in the center aisles include canned tomato products, canned salmon and sardines, and nuts.

The international section of the grocery store is another great place to look for healthy and inexpensive foods, especially the Hispanic section. Coconut milk was $2.89 in the Asian section, but only $2.09 in the Hispanic section. I’ve also found unique things there, like whole grain orzo pasta in the kosher section.

Try store brands. Granted, there are some items to which I am brand loyal. However, store brands can save a lot of money, so it’s worth trying them and seeing how they compare for quality and taste. Many more nutritious items are available in store brands now, too, like whole wheat flour, sea salt, and organic products.

Get more tips and suggestions from the internet. One of my favorite bloggers, Lisa Leake, fed her family of 4 for 100 days on $125 a week, and used all healthy, unprocessed foods. You can read her story and learn lots of great tips on her site:

Dr. Mark Hyman, nationally recognized leader in functional medicine, has a very informative blog about how to eat well with limited financial resources and time, which you can find here:

According to David Katz, MD, There is one more angle to consider: If you don’t eat well, your medical bills could skyrocket. Experts estimate that obesity results in healthcare costs of up to $2,500 per person per year, and diabetes is easily double that. Both conditions also raise your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
So while you might pay a bit more to eat well, your savings could be immeasurable.


Superfoods: Nutrient Powerhouses

superfood heartSuperfood {soo-per food}: A real, minimally processed food that is rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Superfoods are nutrient dense, which means they contain good sources of multiple nutrients for minimal calories.
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and aromatic and brightly colored herbs and spices are all considered superfoods.
Superfoods slow the aging process, and fight against and prevent diabetes, obesity, wrinkles, and degenerative diseases. They regulate metabolism, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and protect against heart disease and cancer. Superfoods protect organs from toxins and promote digestive health. They do all these things by fighting oxidation, inflammation and toxins.
Eating a variety of superfoods will help you maintain weight, fight disease and live longer. They can also put you in a better mood!
superfoods table
Remember that no food, no matter how “super” can stand alone or replace a well-rounded healthy diet.

“Fifty to seventy percent of suffering could be eliminated by what people eat and how they move.”~ Nutritionist Elizabeth Somer