Eating Well

Now that you are at Mason, you have probably had a chance to sample the wide variety of foods offered by our Dining Services. You may have also have sampled food from some of the restaurants around Fairfax and D.C.  We would like to share some tips for helping you eat well as you enjoy the food and dining options that are available.

You can also schedule an appointment with Student Health Services (703-993-2831) for one-on-one encouragement or to discuss these and other exercise and nutrition tips. Is weight management a concern? Our healthcare providers are happy to support students in these efforts.

Tips For Eating Well

  • Watch your portion size.  A serving of meat, fish or poultry is 2-3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards). A serving of cheese is 1½ ounces. A serving of pasta is only ½ a cup. Restaurant portions are often larger than standard portion sizes; share with a friend or save half for later.
  • Be aware of the calories you drink. 20 oz. soda – 240 calories; Venti Latte – 290 calories; Glass of orange juice – 160 calories; 12 oz. Smoothie – 300 calories.
  • Drink more water.
  • Choose items with more vegetables and less meat. Try unfamiliar vegetables, fruits or grains. You may discover a new favorite.
  • Choose lower-fat food options. Some words that indicate a lower fat choice: grilled, roasted, baked, broiled, steamed, stir-fried, poached. These words will clue you in to higher fat selections that should be eaten less often: creamy, breaded, crispy, flaky, battered, pan fried, au gratin.
  • Eat a salad for one meal each day. Watch out for salad dressings. High-fat dressings include cream-based sauces, butter, and sour cream. Some restaurant salads are covered in a dressing that may contain up to 1,000 calories! Ask for your dressing on the side. About 2 tablespoons is usually enough. Be sparing in your use of salad toppings like croutons, cheese and bacon bits.
  • Try to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day. This will give you a constant source of “fuel” for energy. Healthier snacks include string cheese, yogurt, popcorn, and veggies with salsa.
  • Try to avoid vending machines. If you are truly hungry, healthier choices include baked chips, unsalted nuts, animal crackers, cheese sticks, yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, pretzels, some granola bars.
  • Be cautious about late night snacking. Sometimes those snacks have as many calories as a whole meal! When you eat close to bedtime, there’s little chance for you to burn the calories which get stored as fat, which can lead to unwanted weight gain. Try having a glass of water or a piece of fruit when you’re hungry late at night.
  • Watch out for pizza – usually high in fat, calories and simple carbohydrates. Try ordering vegetable toppings instead of extra cheese or meats. Remember a serving of pizza is one slice.

And most importantly, get enough exercise. The easiest way to help maintain a healthy weight is to exercise!

Additional Resources

Mason Dining Services 

US Department of Agriculture

Calorie Count 

Fruits and Veggies – More Matters

The Vegetarian Resource Group

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics