For Your Health

Navigating the Dining Hall

When you are on campus to dine, whether it’s at the dining hall or a retail location it can be overwhelming at first trying to decide where to sit and what to eat. Orient yourself, read the menu and become familiar with the place. It’s going to be fun…a place to meet, eat and socialize with friends. There will be lots of options. Good nutrition is about the choices you make.

Use these quick tips for navigating the dining hall to help you make a Mindful choice:

  1.  Take two trips through the line. Use the first trip to familiarize yourself with the options. Take the second trip to decide what you really want to eat. You will avoid overfilling your plate with foods you may not want.
  2.  Try for a “real meal.”  One chicken wing, one meatball, a few fries, a slice of pizza and a cookie is not a meal that will leave you feeling fit.  Choose an “appetizer” like vegetable soup or salad, a lean protein with whole grain and vegetables, a fruit, water to drink, and a small glass of lowfat chocolate milk for dessert.
  3.  Include a fruit and vegetable (or two). Fruits and vegetables are foods that fill you up without filling you out. These Mindful choices contain more water, fiber, vitamins and minerals with fewer calories than other types of foods. Combine with a lean source of protein such as chicken or fish and a whole grain such as pasta or rice and you have a satisfying meal!
  4.  Share. College is about trying new things. See a dish you want to try but aren’t sure you’ll like it? Get your usual plate of food and sample the new entrée with a friend. You won’t feel the need to overeat.
  5.  Don’t get too hungry. When we let ourselves get too hungry, we tend to overeat – usually on less than nutritious options. By eating breakfast and packing snacks, you can prevent that ravenous feeling. Try eating every 3-4 hours. You’ll make better choices at meal times!
  6.  Slow down. Before you go for a second helping, take 15-20 minutes to let your body digest the food you’ve just eaten. It takes about that long before we can decide if our bodies are still hungry. Take your time; enjoy the conversation and your food!

Mindful Offerings

Mindful offerings meet stringent nutritional criteria based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Each meal part is limited in calories, has fewer than 30% of calories as fat, fewer than 10 % of calories as saturated fat, and is restricted in sodium, and cholesterol. Chefs in our test kitchen develop recipes to meet these criteria in delicious fashion! Look for the Mindful icon to indulge in the healthy and delicious items offered at each meal.

Being well and eating well means becoming aware of choices and making the right decisions to achieve a better today and a better tomorrow. Your Sodexo dining team is committed to offering you a wide range of options for a healthy dining experience. From recipes that include the most nutritious mix of ingredients to offering educational resources for positive lifestyle habits, healthy options are the result of a team dedicated to advancing the well-being of the entire campus community.

Another important part of our focus on health and wellness is the use of seasonal menus, featuring fresh and healthy ingredients - many of which are grown by local or regional farmers. Every season has its own unique produce that is showcased in delicious signature dishes to highlight the distinct flavors and natural appeal of seasonal items.

For students who have special dietary and nutritional needs we have informational resources and customized menus to address your needs. These menus meet the strictest compliance standards, without sacrificing flavor, texture or presentation. 

Sodexo's nutrition icons make it easy to identify healthy choices. Look for these nutrition icons on the foods being served on your campus to help you meet your dietary needs or desires. If you need assistance finding the right types of foods for you, please reach out to your on-campus Sodexo manager or chef.

If you have additional dietary questions, please contact us so we can help! Sodexo has registered dietitians ready to answer your questions and help you make healthy choices.