How to Avoid the Freshman 15

Quick and Easy Ways to Eat Healthy During Your First Year at School

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The "Freshman 15" is one of the things incoming students hear about the most. Legend has it that the average student gains fifteen pounds during their first year in college. Urban myth or not, keep these tips in mind to ensure you eat and stay healthy as you adjust to eating on campus.

  1. Walk whenever and wherever you can on campus. Your campus may be big or small, hilly or flat, but regardless: it's probably walkable. Do your best to take the long way when you can.
  2. Join an intramural sports team. Never played rugby or softball before? Who cares! Intramural sports can be a fun way to learn a new sport, meet people, and stay healthy during your time at school.
  3. Use the campus gym. It's most likely free, or very cheap. Make the most of it while you can.
  4. Get a workout partner. Not good at always making it to that 8:00 a.m. spin class? Find someone else who is interested in attending on a regular basis, and help hold each other accountable.
  5. Choose diet soda instead of regular. You might be surprised at how quickly all of those calories add up!
  6. Eat a salad (or a piece of fruit, or a healthy side veggie) with whatever else you grab for dinner. And do it every time.
  7. Eat a healthy breakfast. Your mom was right: your day does go better when you eat a good breakfast. Avoid the donuts and grab some oatmeal to go.
  8. Keep healthy snacks in your room. Even if you don't have a fridge in your room, you can still keep pretzels, fruit (dried or fresh), healthy nuts, and energy bars on hand.
  9. Don't get dessert every time you eat. True, the dining hall may have unlimited self-serve ice cream, but that doesn't mean you should eat it every night.
  10. If you're going to order food late at night, make smart choices. Up late studying with your roommate and want to order pizza? Choose cheese only instead of loading up on toppings.
  11. Do something physical every weekend. Go for a run, join a pick-up game, play Ultimate Frisbee with some friends. Just get your body moving.
  12. Walk when you go off campus. Are your friends and you heading to a nice, neighborhood restaurant to get away for a while? If you can, try walking as a group instead of hopping in a car.
  13. Let yourself splurge every once in a while. Giving in to the self-serve ice cream machine is fine, as is the donut you are craving for breakfast, as long as you don't do it every day. But you do deserve a treat every once in a while!
  14. Drink water throughout the day. Do you go for 8 hours straight, from work to class to your club meeting to work again? Bring a water bottle with you to make sure you stay hydrated -- and healthy.
  15. Don't go long periods without eating. Running around all day, only to realize you haven't eaten in a long time, isn't good for your body. It also may increase the likelihood that you'll eat what's first available, instead of the food and nutrients your body needs. If you know you have a long day coming, pack some snacks ahead of time so your body has the fuel it needs to keep up with that big, college-educated brain of yours.