The ‘BANC’: Not the average dining facility

The BANC is an athlete-only dining hall that aims to provide healthy, nutritious meals for Baylor's athletes. Audrey La | Photographer

By Briana Garcia | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

The Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center — or as student-athletes call it, the BANC — is a place that fuels and educates Baylor Bears in ways like never before.

“I want another level of cuisine, a higher level of cuisine in this building,” BANC executive chef Andy Hatcher said.

Hatcher said many student-athletes are used to eating foods like chicken strips or french fries, so it is important for them to gain knowledge about eating different variations of food. He said he wants to educate them on eating things like farro or quinoa — items that are very alien to them.

“I think adding more healthier foods will be a great addition to the BANC,” Austin freshman Audrey Williamson said. “I love the idea of sampling, and I think it’s a great way to try new items.”

The BANC has multiple stations with different kinds of menus. Student-athletes can pick from these stations depending on their nutrition. Whether they are vegetarian or vegan or have intolerances, they have options at each station.

“At Baylor, they are very accommodating to allergies,” Bridgeport, Conn., sophomore Kayla Clark said. “If I let the chefs know that I’m coming in and I want something, they will make sure it has no dairy in it, and it makes me feel a lot more comfortable with what is going into my body.”

The stations are meant to be helpful when it comes to feeding student-athletes of varying sports.

“Something that is really important to us at the dining hall is the level of customization,” director of performance nutrition Julie Anna Buzzard said. “We have multiple stations at the BANC to enhance our nutrition.”

Hatcher said whether a student wants to eat more protein and carbs or fish and vegetables, the BANC provides an ideal diet for every athlete.

“This is why the BANC is important for student-athletes specifically,” Hatcher said. “They can have a range of food that is good for them and their performance.”

Buzzard said the BANC has about 400 student-athletes to attend to, and many of those athletes have dietary restrictions. She said it is crucial that the BANC is aware of these problems because they can affect how athletes perform.

“Some of our student-athletes have celiac, and when they walk into the building, the staff is pulling out a fresh pan for them,” Buzzard said. “That’s the level of service you’re probably not going to see at an on-campus dining hall.”

The BANC aims for as high-quality food as possible. It looks at local vendors and organic and natural options that might not be seen at a typical dining hall. Buzzard said student-athletes need these types of foods to help perform at their best.

For healthy tips and to see what is happening at the BANC, follow its Instagram.

“It’s important for us to know where our food is coming from and be able to support local businesses,” Williamson said.