If you’re in your first year of college, you’ll be faced with challenging classes and plenty of fun opportunities to make friends and join exciting clubs. Going away to college can also wreak havoc on your diet and waistline. Visiting the college dining room is a lot like visiting an all-you-can-eat buffet at least once every day, and the food choices aren’t always the healthiest (also, let’s face it – you’re probably going to want pizza over a salad). These not-so-healthy choices can quickly add up, leaving you with weight gain (a.k.a. the Freshman 15).
Whether you’re dining on campus or making food for yourself in your first apartment, here are 8 ways you can help avoid the dreaded Freshman 15 through your first year and beyond!
Don’t Skip Meals – Even on days when your schedule is totally slammed, make it a point to eat balanced meals, especially breakfast. Remember to fill up on plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and calcium throughout the day. This will help keep your metabolism steady throughout the day and quell any cravings you may experience.
Watch Your Portions – Yes, you can fill your plate, but that doesn’t mean you should. Become familiar with the proper portions and try your best to stick to them. Theoretically, half of your plate should be filled with vegetables, a quarter of it should contain protein, and the remaining quarter should contain starches.
Drink Plenty of Water – It’s important that you stay hydrated throughout the day. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water whenever you can. Even though you may be tempted with soda at the dining hall or in vending machines, do your best to avoid it. Only water will quench your thirst and can help prevent bloating and constipation.
Keep Healthy Snacks in Stock – Studying can make you hungry. When you’re cramming on those late-night study sessions, make sure that you’re not cramming delivery pizza slices or mac and cheese down your throat! Keep your dorm room or apartment full of healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, pretzels, low-fat yogurt and string cheese, vegetables, and popcorn.
Get Enough Sleep – Speaking of those late-night study sessions, your studies are important, but getting plenty of good-quality sleep is essential to keeping your mind fresh and your body healthy. Make it your mission to clock at least 7 hours of solid sleep every night!
Stay Physically Active – It isn’t just enough to eat well – you also need to keep your body in motion to help keep the pounds off! Whenever you can, walk or bike to your classes, join an intramural team, take walks around town with your friends, or hit up the school gym. This will help you burn off some extra calories and keep you energized throughout the day!
Learn to Manage Stress – Between adapting to your new surroundings, juggling classes, writing all those papers, and taking exams, college can be full of stress and challenges. Unfortunately, when we are stressed, our bodies wind up taking a toll. Combat stress effectively with walking, yoga, meditation, and doing something creative to keep your body and your brain happy!
Treat Yourself (Occasionally) – It’s definitely okay to indulge yourself once in a while – just remember to not go overboard. If you choose to savor some dessert after lunch, skip the sweets after dinner. This will help you avoid binge eating on junk food and keep your waistline slim!
Remember, the eating habits that you develop during your first year at college can stick with you through many, many years. Just follow these tips and you will pave the way toward a healthy and active lifestyle! Don’t forget to stop by Millbrook Pharmacy to stock up on a few healthy snacks!