Monthly Archives: August 2012

Travel & Athletic Performance

Let’s Go Mountaineers! Fall 2012 marks the inagural year of West Virginia University in the Big 12 Conference. Not only does this mean a more competitive conference for WVU, it also means longer travel times by bus and by airplane.  If athletes aren’t careful about maintaining hydration status, eating healthy foods on the road, and getting adequate sleep, their athletic performance can be negatively affected. Roanna Martin and I were responsible for making 5 bulletin boards that cover important tips to remember when traveling, in order for athletes to compete at their best level. These bulletin boards will be posted in different sports teams’ strength and conditioning rooms, such as swimming, diving, and volleyball.  I’ve rearranged the information into a Powerpoint for easier viewing.  Check it out!

Categories: Current News, Sports Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


In addition to Brew ‘n Gold Cafe, Jay Capron also overseas Eliza’s, the cafe located on the 4th floor of the downtown library at WVU.  The cafe is a relatively new addition to the library, as it was opened just 6 1/2 years ago in February of 2006.   Food, drink, in the library, you say?? Why, yes!  The library’s food and drink policy states that food must be kept in the glass doors of Eliza’s, and drinks may be taken out of the cafe, but must have a lid on it. This is good news for students, especially during dead week and finals week when some students will spend upwards of 8-12 hours in the library, all day. It is pretty convenient to not have to pack up and move to another location in order to get some hydration and sustenance!  Originally, the librarians were concerned that the addition of Eliza’s to the library would cause need for an additional janitor to clean up all the mess that students would cause in the stacks area, but fortunately this hasn’t been a problem.  Students appear to be very respectful of the books in the library and have been careful not to spill crumbs or coffee over pages and in between bookcases.

Eliza’s during lunch hours

Eliza’s offers a variety of beverages for students — Starbucks coffee (!) and Coke products, as WVU has a contract with Coca-Cola. The beverages include, but are not limited to:

  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Coffee
  • Hot tea
  • Iced tea
  • Fruit juices
  • Milk
  • Smoothies
  • Vitamin Water

Eliza’s also receives food, beverage, and ice deliveries two times a day in order to keep up with the student demand. There isn’t a ton of storage space at Eliza’s so deliveries have to be quite frequent. I was there for the 8:00am delivery truck, and we received milk, Panera bagels, wraps, sandwiches, and decadent-looking cinnamon rolls.  There are also salads, hummus, fresh veggies, granola bars, cheese & crackers, chips, and cookies available for purchase.

Muffins, cinnamon rolls, and Panera bagels for students to purchase

There is a push for nutrition fact labels to be placed on all the items at Brew ‘n Gold and Eliza’s. However, there are over 75 items in rotation at Brew ‘n Gold alone, so this would be quite a project to undertake. Not to mention, WVU receives its food from different suppliers each month, as food is ordered by a monthly bidding system.  That means that the turkey used to make the turkey and lettuce wrap in March may have 480 mg of sodium (from company A), but in April the turkey in the sandwich may have 550 mg of sodium (from company B) simply because we change up suppliers so often.  In addition, the wraps and sandwiches are made by different workers each time, so although consistency is encouraged, it is not guaranteed. One employee’s idea of a handful of spinach in a sandwich may be different from another employee’s handful of spinach. So because of those two factors, the nutrition facts labels should be used as more of a ballpark estimate.  Currently, there is a QR code on each item (seen below) that when scanned with a smart phone, should lead to ingredient lists and nutrition information for that item. Pretty neat use of technology!

Wraps, sandwiches, salads, hummus, fresh veggies, and more

Prices range from less than a dollar for an iced tea, to over $5.00 if you want a large drink, sandwich, and sides.  However, the average purchase per student is $3.50.

Hmmm…what to get…

During the school year Eliza’s is open on Sundays from 3pm – midnight, Mondays-Wednesdays 8am-midnight, Thursdays 8am-9pm, and Fridays 8am-2pm. Students are typically staying up ’til midnight studying on Sundays- Wednesdays, as most exams are scheduled for Mondays-Thursdays.  Also, a lot of students are relaxing or go home on the weekends (Fridays, Saturdays) so the hours of operation make sense to me.

Workers at Eliza’s (also brews Starbucks coffee)

Curious as to who this “Eliza” is?  Eliza J. Skinner was actually the WVU library director from 1897-1902, and went on to have a 33 year career at the Library of Congress.  Check out her story here.

Categories: Food Service | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brew ‘n Gold Cafe

Today I spent the morning with Jay Capron, who is manager of the Coffee Shops at WVU.  He led me on a tour of the coffee shops, and I learned about the production and management behind Brew ‘n Gold Cafe on Evansdale and Eliza’s in the downtown library.

Brew ‘n Gold Cafe opened in the fall of 2004 in the Evansdale Residence Complex next to the traditional dining hall, Cafe Evansdale.  Brew ‘n Gold is a way for students to grab food to-go and still use their meal plans, rather than sitting down in a traditional dining hall. Students at WVU used to be able to request a to-go box to fill up in the dining hall, and then take back to their dorms, bus, outside, or wherever if they wanted to eat to-go. But as you can imagine what would happen on any University, students started eating a regular meal on the trays in the dining hall, and then taking a second meal in their to-go box back up to their dorm rooms. Not only were students getting 2 meals for the price of 1 (costing the university money), but there was also a food safety issue with storing hot foods in the dorm room (as many students don’t have microwaves).  So Brew ‘n Gold was designed to fill that need for a to-go option for students on Evansdale Campus.

Brew ‘n Gold is closed during the summer, but during the school year serves 1700 students through its doors each day.  Brew ‘n Gold is also open until 9pm Monday through Friday, so if students miss the 8pm closing time for Cafe Evansdale (or 6:30pm closing time on Fridays), they can still squeeze in a late dinner at Brew ‘n Gold.

This is how Brew ‘N Gold works with the meal plans…1 entree, 1-2 sides (depending on which meal it is), and a drink.

Brew ‘N Gold Cafe: proudly brewing Starbucks coffee!

Students at Brew ‘N from

The drinks students can fill their cup up with…and don’t forget: you can ask for milk if you want, and you can get one or two half-pint cartons. Only about 12% of students ask for milk, however.

Categories: Food Service | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Healthy U combats the Freshman 15

I’m sure we’re all aware of the phrase “Freshman 15,” the weight that the average college freshman puts on their first year in college. Well actually the average college freshman gains an average of 5-15 pounds their freshman year, with 5 pounds gained their first semester away. Why is that? Well, I believe a big part of the reason is the change in diet.  Students go from eating school lunches and having home-cooked dinners, to facing an all-you-can-eat buffet three times a day! WVU’s dining halls are full of tempting food that can definitely add to the waistline– free Krispy Kremes, 12 flavors of ice cream, jars of Nutella and peanut butter, french fries, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, pizza, and a dozen flavors of sugary beverages.  It’s easy to see how a student can gain 15 pounds over the course of 9 months of school just from the change in their diet…it breaks down to just eating an extra 200 calories a day!  It is easy for me to look at hundreds of options in the dining hall and quickly decipher which are healthy and which are unhealthy, but I’ve also been studying nutrition for 5 years. The average college student might have a tougher time knowing which items are going to be nutritious and which items are just empty calories.

That’s where Healthy U comes in to play.  Healthy U is a program designed by West Virginia University Dining Services and is a tool students can use to learn about nutrition and healthy choices.  It takes the guesswork out of eating healthy!  What’s also great is that it is a comprehensive program that contains the Healthy U meal plan;  nutrition education via a “Wellness Center” that describes the program, different nutrition topics, and the Healthy U diet for that day; free one-on-one nutritional counseling sessions with the staff registered dietitian; and group meetings and focus groups conducted by dietetic interns or the staff RD on a variety of nutrition topics.

How it works is that each Healthy U diet for the day is composed of 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) that have been analyzed for their nutrient value.  Each meal has less than 20% of your daily value (DV) for fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.  Plus, each meal contains at least 20% DV for dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.  The diet/menu for each day is based on a 2000 calorie diet, so breakfast is 400-500 calories, lunch is 500-600 calories, and dinner is 600-700 calories, leaving 200-300 calories for snacks throughout the day.  Each Healthy U item is labeled with the Healthy U logo, the name of the dish, the serving size, and a nutrition facts label.  Students can simply choose the Healthy U entrée each meal, add a piece of fruit or hit up the salad bar, then fill in with appropriate beverages and snacks (skim milk or water with your meal, coffee with breakfast, and/or a 150 calorie scoop of ice cream after lunch), and they can feel confident knowing they have eaten healthy that day and met the appropriate nutrition recommendations.

The 2000 calorie diet, as recommended by the FDA, should contain:

  • total fat: less than 65 g
  • saturated fat: less than 20 g
  • cholesterol: less than 300 mg
  • sodium: less than 2,400 mg
  • fiber: greater or equal to 25 g
  • total carbohydrates: 300 g (does not contain a large amount of sugar)

I have personally had 3 Healthy U lunches this week. The first one was “Tasty Hawaiian Pockets” — a pita bread pocket filled with pineapple chunks, feta cheese, and cottage cheese. Very Hawaiian and great blend of flavors. The other Healthy U lunch was a veggie sandwich. This was excellent- the bun was toasted just right, and the cooked eggplant, mushroom, and assorted veggies were really tasty. The last Healthy U item I had was a pita bread pocket filled with shredded chicken, mozzarella cheese, raw spinach, and a mix of cooked mushrooms, red peppers, and onions. This was my favorite, but I did add some hummus from the salad bar to make the pita sandwich a little less dry.

I think its great to have such fresh, flavorful, and healthy items available on a daily basis for the students at WVU.  University dining hall food can have a bad rep, but so far the Healthy U items I’ve tried haven’t disappointed me.  The Healthy U items are also placed right after the french fries, fried fish, and other items…so I think the placement encourages those who just piled their plate with fries to look at the Healthy U item and maybe try some of it.

And don’t they sound delicious?

  • Black Bean Sweet Potato Quesadilla
  • Blueberry Pancakes
  • Cilantro Chicken Salad
  • Italian Flank Steak
  • Peach Sauced Pork
  • Mexican Tortilla Soup
  • Peanut Noodle with Shrimp
  • Spicy Southern BBQ Chicken
  • Vegetable Stuffed Turkey Breast

Mmmm! You can find a list of some of the Healthy U items here along with the corresponding nutrition information. And check out Healthy U on Facebook, too!  I really believe if someone with little to no nutrition knowledge consistently eats the Healthy U items and faithfully participates the Healthy U nutrition education programs, they will soon have the knowledge and confidence to choose healthy items on their own wherever they chose to eat. AND they will avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15”!

Categories: Current News, Education in the Community, Food Service | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WVU Downtown Farmers’ Market

Today my rotation was filled with variety– body composition analysis, a grocery store tour, and a farmers’ market.  I love the variety of things that this rotation has to offer so far, and it’s only been 3 days!  Here are some photos I took from the downtown farmers’ market today. It is held across from the Mountainlair every Wednesday from 11am-1pm, and today was comprised of about 5 vendors, but in the following weeks, more vendors should be present. There were fresh and local grapes, peaches, apples, eggplant, bell peppers, hot peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, corn on the cob, baked goods (cookies, bread), and more.  WVU also had a tent where students could get a nice-sized sample of peach crisp, made by WVU dining using fresh and local West Virginian peaches.  The recipe was created and tweaked to meet certain nutrition standards (more fiber, less fat, lower in sodium), so you can be rest assured the peach crisp is healthy for you.  And for you animal lovers out there, the peach crisp is also vegan!  We were talking about what recipe and dish to give away for free at next week’s farmers’ market, and it may be something made with potatoes, corn, and peppers! Mmmm! Or perhaps an apple dish? Whatever it is, it’s always made with local ingredients.

Hundreds of free samples of peach crisp…went fast!

SNAP benefits and credit/debit cards can be used here

Local foods available for students to purchase

Peaches, apples, tomatoes, corn, and grapes…yum!

Thanks to all the vendors who participate and help make WVU a healthier campus!

Fresh apples & various veggies

Great for cooking

Eggplants — excellent grilled, baked, or sauteed!

Freshly made “Yum Bun” for $3 – filled with veggies & looks like whole wheat flour was used. Great!

I think this downtown farmers market is a great for students of all types– if you live in the dorms, grab a bag of apples for those midnight cravings when the dining hall is closed. If you live off campus, why not buy some peaches and take a recipe card and try out the healthy peach crisp one weekend?  And of course, whether you live off campus or on campus, a yum bun will definitely fill you up in between classses!

Categories: Community Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at