Beating the Freshman Fifteen—10 Easy Steps to Avoid Those Extra College Pounds

The freshman fifeen is like an urban legend: Everybody's heard about, but you don't know it's got you in its grasp until you can't fit into your favorite jeans anymore. Before you start falling into any bad eating habits, read these ten easy tips on how you make sure your first year is a healthy one.

1. Avoid Soda

A drink is included in many college meal plans, so making the right choice is a big decision.  Choose water over Pepsi or Mountain Dew. If you’ve never been a regular soda drinker and you start now, you’ll most likely rack up a few pounds.  You can even cheat a little by watering down your juice drinks by pouring half out and filling the rest with water

2. Don’t Use Food as a Procrastination Tool

tressed about that huge chemistry test tomorrow?  So is everyone else! Don’t turn to food to solve the problem.  Find a study buddy and go to the library so you won’t be surrounded by snacks in your dorm room.

3. Go to the Gym

Once you made your academic schedule, take a look at where you will have some free time.  Pencil in at least an hour 2-3 times a week for gym time.  This way you can make it a part of your everyday routine, and it’s less likely that you’ll skip out on going.  For even more motivation, find a gym buddy!

4. Have Water – Will Travel

Always carry a water bottle with you to class.  It’s important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day, especially if you had a little too much fun the previous night.  Drinking water will also help your concentration, so you’ll be able to get more out of your class lectures.

5. Keep Partying to a Minimum

Yeah, it’s your first year and you want to have fun because you’re finally independent, but you have to be smart about it if you want to keep yourself healthy.  Keep the consumption of alcohol to a minimum to avoid that ‘beer gut’ you hear so many people complain about. Drinking also encourages late-night munching, so try to drink several glasses of water when you get home so it will fill you up.

6. Walk to Class

Many campuses, big or small, provide student transportation to different buildings.  Instead of taking the bus, walk to your classes!  It might take more time to get there, but at least you’re getting some exercise in, plus it burns calories, which allows to cheat a little later on.

7. Don’t Skip Breakfast

Although you may have early morning classes, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day.  Try to start your morning off with a glass of juice, a bowl of cereal and a fruit.  If you don’t have time, grab a granola or protein bar that you can take with you to class.

8. Be A Dining Hall Detective

Make healthy choices—your dining hall will most likely have a variety of food selections.  Be smart!  Choose something different to eat each day, and avoid any fast food selections. You can still eat what you like, but make sure it's balanced. For example, if you want a burger, take the bread away and wrap it in a lettuce leaf. Craving a shake? Opt for a fat-free frozen yogurt instead.

9. Limit Your Late Night Snacking

Try to avoid late night snacks as much as possible!  You’re going to have a lot of homework, but if you need to stay up late to finish an assignment choose something healthy.  Instead of cookies, try pretzels or nuts.

10. Keep Healthy Food On Hand 24/7

Surround yourself with healthy food—Don’t keep a lot of junky stuff in your dorm room.  If they’re there, you KNOW you'll want to eat them – a lot. Temper the temptation by stocking your mini fridge full of easy-to-eat things like fruit, yogurt, string cheese, and jello cups. If you find yourself in the middle of a salty-sweet kick, try peanut butter and apple slices, yogurt-covered pretzals, or low-fat cinnamon kettle corn.

By Desiree Murphy

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