It has been about 2 weeks since my quest to turn myself back into a mindful eater. As I mentioned in my previous post, I realized I spend half my days eating haphazardly while standing in my kitchen. The first few days proved to be challenging as I realized that it takes me great effort not to grab a piece of food every time I walked by the kitchen counter or stove. I would have a piece of food in midair before realizing that 1. I was not standing up and needed to sit down before I could eat or 2. I truly was not hungry. The biggest challenge for me has been making the time to prepare meals & snacks so that I do not grab the first thing in sight (which is usually chocolate). Some of my saving graces this past 2 weeks have been:

  1. Fresh baby spinach from the farmer’s market which I wash as soon as I purchase and then store in the salad spinner. I make a quick salad with lemon juice, a spritz of olive oil & balsamic vinegar. If I am in need of a protein I throw in some salmon or eggs.
  2. Cooked quinoa (or other grain of choice, I really like faro too). I cook up a batch of grains and store them in individual containers in the freezer. When I want to throw a quick meal together, I defrost a glass container and thrown in my toppings of choice (I like feta and lemon juice).
  3. Granola. My husband whips up a big batch of granola and this is a great snack for me paired with plain Greek yogurt. Normally I am not a fan of yogurt, especially the presweetened varieties, but I do like the plain Greek variety (also good with popcorn).
  4. Still allowing myself to have some chocolate during the day. Rather than mindlessly eating chocolate in front of the computer, I allow myself a dark chocolate square that I will only eat in the kitchen (remember I am being mindful).
  5. Not eating in front of the computer!

Here is our go to recipe for Crunchy Granola, adapted from Mark Bittman.


  • 6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
  • 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds or cashews (I use less)
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit, optional (I omit, personal preference)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, salt and sweetener. Place on a sheet pan and put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. Mixture should brown evenly; the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier the granola will be.
  2. Remove pan from oven and add raisins or dried fruit. Cool on a rack, stirring once in a while until granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.

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Just a note to say thank you for all of the delicious food you and your staff serve each day. I never knew kale could taste so good!


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Thank you so much for all the gluten-free options this year! All of your staff have been so helpful. They make a point to come up to me at meals and let me know what options you have for that meal. Salads are great, but sometimes a warm meal is just what you need!

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It’s an understatement to say we were surprised by the excellent quality of the food. We could not recall having a better tuna dish, even at the four-star resturants we frequent in Raleigh. Duke Integrative is a special place.


Many times I find a favorite thing out of the many items served during lunch, and although the featured spinach and fruit salad was visually stunning; the SHOUT OUT winner of the day hands down was the very delicious unassuming Vegetarian Pinto Beans!!! The onions were glistening and the peppers served as a complimentary color to the two different shades of beans...I have one regret and that is I didn’t think to take a picture!


Thank you for making pimento cheese today! It not only is divine, but also hit the spot. I now regret wasting 62.5 years of life on this planet in which I did not eat this heavenly mix. As I explore different recipes in my home kitchen I will try my best to live up to the standard demonstrated by what I had today.

Faculty Member 

Everything was usual! The food was scrumptious...and the weather was gorgeous!

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I would not change a thing! Your staff was not only professional, but warm and caring. They truly set the tone for a memorable night. The food was delicious...our family and friends left with hearts and bellies full!

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I just wanted to thank you so much for all the delicious food at Duke. Your food was such a happy and positive experience and it made the days there so much more enjoyable to eat healthy, but tasty, great food.


Thanks for the delicious soup and the new harvest salad - and thanks for removing half the calories out of the Farm Basket brownie...haha.


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Thank you for all of your hard work on the meals and breaks for the Alumnae Board. The food was outstanding; everyone raved about each meal. Favorites included the grits on Saturday morning and the butternut squash soup on Sunday. YUM!!!


The amazing characteristic is that, on a day by day basis, you give us nutritious, varied, interesting, delicious food...not just something special for company. Please know how much you are appreciated and loved by this community.

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