Mason Dining offers healthy choices across campus

Mason's dietitian gives her perspective of healthy eating on campus (photo courtesy of Mason Dining).
Mason's dietitian gives her perspective of healthy eating on campus (photo courtesy of Mason Dining).

George Mason University students no longer have to fall victim to the clichéd “freshman fifteen.”

Mason Dining now offers a variety of healthy food choices amidst the presence of fast food, as well as opportunities to meet with a registered dietitian.

When asked which three restaurants on campus offered the healthiest options, Mason Dining’s Registered Dietitian Lois Durant said Southside, La Patisserie and Hot Spot, because they offered the most variety of foods. Durant left Sprouts off the list because she wants to see more variety of whole grains in Sprouts.

“You have your greens and meats, but I’m working on trying to add more whole grains,” Durant said.

According to Durant’s Top Ten Weight Loss Tips pamphlet, foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables have a high amount of fiber, which takes longer to digest, “making you feel full longer on fewer calories.”

Durant defines healthy eating as an intake of a variety of foods that have balanced nutritional values. Eating one bread serving, one milk serving and one fruit serving for each meal is one way to balance nutritional value, Durant said.

Durant said locally grown produce had a more positive effect on nutritional value because its travel time from farm to destination is shorter. She claims that organic foods are healthy not because they have extra nutritional value, but because they use less harmful chemicals during the growing process.

According to Mason Dining’s website, “in the 2012 fiscal year we were able to commit over $82,000 more to purchasing local items than in 2011.” The website also says that "local" is defined as a 250 mile driving distance from their location.

According to Mason Dining’s Resident District Manager Ram Nabar, Sprouts offers organic produce grown locally, on campus, by the Mason Organic Gardening Association.

Students can meet with Durant to discuss health issues, and she often works with each individual to plan specific calorie needs based on each student’s goal. Durant can be contacted via email at to set up an appointment.

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