Performance Dining’s mission is to educate you on picking foods for function that support and fuel your physical and mental performance goals. It’s a way of eating that varies based on what demands your body is facing in that moment. Performance Dining has a meal or snack plate build to support a variety of individual physical and mental health journeys. Heavy lifting day? Here’s how to build a plate to optimize recovery. Studying for Finals? We’ve got a smart eats snack formula for that! We are here to help guide you in reaching your personal goals through eating with purpose, now dine on Deacs!

Protein Source

Protein is an essential nutrient present in every cell in the body. It’s made of amino acids which are building blocks that help grow and maintain the body’s tissues — including muscles, tendons, blood vessels, skin, hair and nails. Protein is also involved in synthesizing and maintaining enzymes and hormones to keep the body’s systems functioning properly.

Examples: Edamame, tofu, chicken, fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, Greek yogurt, Quinoa, beans

Check out this step-by- step video of how to create your own grain jar!

High Energy

The role of carbohydrates is to provide energy. They provide energy for physical activity, brain function and operation of the organs. Fiber found in carbohydrates is important for gastro-intestinal health and waste elimination. Foods that contain Whole Grains, Starchy Vegetables (higher yield of energy (carbohydrate)/serving) and Fruits will be marked as “high energy”.

Examples: starchy vegetables- corn, potatoes, peas, whole grains (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat breads and wraps), legumes, and fruits

Smart Eats

Eating well for mental performance is just as important as eating well for physical performance. Your body needs fat from food. It’s a major source of energy, helps you absorb vitamins and minerals, support brain structures, and is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and decreasing inflammation. Foods high in CLA, Omega 3, and Mono/Poly unsaturated fats will be marked as Smart Eats.

Examples: fatty acids: nuts, seeds, fish olive oil, and egg yolk


Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent constipation. Beverages with no added sugars, and foods with high water content will be marked as “Hydration”.

Examples: water, dairy and non-dairy milk, and fluid rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, teas, and infused/sparking waters

Recovery Food

Physical activity is an important part of health. Physical activity can improve mood, strengthen bones and build muscles. Food plays an essential role in building gains from a workout practice or game. Recovery foods are most effective consumed with 30 minutes of activity. Recovery foods consists of a carb to protein ratio. Carbohydrates help to replace glycogen in the muscles and the protein builds and repairs muscles.

Examples: Greek yogurt, chocolate milk, rice bowl, pasta bowl, smoothies/smoothie bowls.

Immune Support

Students who consistently train hard and have active days are at higher risk of immune deficiency. The Immune system defends against disease-causing microorganisms. A healthy immune system starts in the gut and requires good, regular nourishment, providing a wide range of micronutrients. Research has also shown that pre/probiotics may be helpful in supporting gut and immune health. Foods that are good sources of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E or that contain pre/probiotics will be marked as Immune Support.

Examples: fresh apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, melon, broccoli, green beans, spinach, romaine, carrots, cauliflower, herbs, probiotics such as dairy, nuts, and spices

Bone Support

The best insurance against osteoporosis is building the highest bone density possible by your 30’s. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D are two critical strategies for keeping bones strong. Foods and beverages high in calcium and vitamin D will be marked for Bone Support.

Examples: yogurts, cheeses, dairy and non-dairy beverages, certain nuts and seeds, soy products, and some green vegetables

Plate Template

Download it now!

Gold Apron Cooking Class

The Deacon Dining Wellness Program partners with the Office of Wellbeing through monthly cooking classes to educate students, faculty and staff on Performance Dining-a program that encourages eating with purpose.   This is not a recipe for “perfect” eating by any means, but a way to approach each meal and snack with the goal of obtaining the most nutrients to nourish body, mind and spirit and derive pleasure and satisfaction from the chosen foods.  As a registered dietitian I promote whole foods first, a diet built on a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fat.  That is why our smoothie event featured recipes that included an ingredient from each food group.  Smoothies can be a great snack (smaller serving) or meal (larger serving), and should be balanced to keep blood sugar stable.  Choosing a bone boosting beverage such as soy or cow’s milk, a protein source such as Greek yogurt or tofu, a full cup of a brightly colored vegetables such as carrots or spinach and a cup of fruit provides nutrient dense calories and a tasty sweet we sometimes crave.   Download the recipes from our event HERE

Brooke Orr | Deacon Dining | Nutrition Director