In just a couple of weeks, millions of young people will begin their freshman year of college! I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that this September will be 15 years since I started college! What an exciting time in your life. Living away from home for the first time, choosing your own schedule, making your own decisions, doing your own laundry (ok, that part is no fun)…
Do you see the photo below? That is me as an 18 year old college freshman and those are my food choices. Animal crackers and ramen noodles. Not wise. I ate a steady diet of non-perishable items that you can easily get from a vending machine. As a survivor of the “freshman 15″, I’d like to give you some tips and advice on how to have a healthy transition from high school to college. Ready? Here we go…
5 ways to beat the “Freshman 15″
1. Do the exact opposite of what I did.
As a college freshman, my dorm room was always stocked with lots and lots of cheap refined carbs…crackers, cookies, ramen noodles, pizza, cereal, granola bars, chips, etc. Don’t do that. Fill your mini fridge with some fresh foods like yogurt, cheese, fruits, raw veggies, hummus, etc. Keep nuts, seeds, nut butters and other whole grain crackers and cereals on hand for a quick meal or snack.
2. Just because your meal plan is “all you can eat” doesn’t mean you should.
If you want to get the most out of your meal plan, fill up on the “expensive” items like lean proteins, vegetables and fruits. These foods are nutrient dense and will keep you satisfied for hours. Carbs like pasta, rice and cereal are cheap and easy enough to make in your dorm room and won’t keep you full for long.
3. Alcohol makes you fat.
If you need one more reason to avoid underage drinking in addition to making horrible decisions that you will quickly regret and failing out of school your first semester (not that I failed out of school my first semester), drinking also makes you gain weight like nobody’s business. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram and that means that a little goes a long, long, long way. They don’t call it a “beer belly” for nothing.
4. Avoid late night eating.
Skipping meals all day and then eating an enormous amount of food late at night is a bad idea for many reasons. Make an effort to eat regularly scheduled meals and snacks throughout the day to keep blood sugar levels stable and maintain consistent energy levels.
5. Don’t stop exercising.
Freshman year is a busy year…projects to complete, tests to pass, parties to go to. I get it. But it shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid exercise. Many colleges have BEAUTIFUL gyms and athletic facilities that include a membership with your tuition – so make the most of it! You don’t need to spend 3 hours at the gym, but a quick 30 minute walk, swim or bike ride will help to keep you in good shape.
Below is a FREE downloadable pdf including a college dorm room grocery shopping list and 20 quick and healthy snack ideas for college. This pdf was designed with Emma D’Arpino, an intern from Bay View Academy who will be starting her freshman year at Simmons College in Boston this year. Thank you, Emma for all your help and I hope your first year is amazing!
Click on the image to download.