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

  • Consider 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  ½ a cup. Restaurant portions are often larger than standard portion sizes; share with a friend or save half for later.
  • Consider 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.
  • Consider eating a salad for one meal each day. Choose a variety of vegetables and include proteins in your salad. Consider asking for your salad dressing on the side. About 2 tablespoons is usually enough.
  • 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.
  • If you are choosing a vending machine snack, consider a more nutritious food such as baked chips, unsalted nuts, animal crackers, cheese sticks, yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, pretzels, some granola bars.
  • Think about late night snacking habits. 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. Try having a cup of water or herbal tea or a piece of fruit when you’re hungry late at night.
  • Pizza is a delicious food that can be high in fat, calories and simple carbohydrates. Think about ordering vegetable toppings instead of extra cheese or meats.

And most importantly, get enough exercise. The easiest path to physical and emotional wellness is a habit of regular exercise or activity. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should get 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week with two days of a strengthening activity.

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

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