Being away from home and your regular routine for the first time isn’t always easy. During your first year of college, it isn’t unusual to make a few unhealthy choices or put on a few pounds. That doesn’t mean you have to gain the so-called freshman 15, though. Check out six ways to fight the freshman 15 and stay healthy throughout your first year of college.
Pace Your Meals Throughout the Day
As you might have heard, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s also essential that you pace all of your meals throughout the day. Not only does eating healthy meals three times a day keep you fueled with energy and nutrients, but this schedule also keeps you from getting too hungry and overeating later in the day.
Develop a Dining Hall Game Plan
There’s no question that making healthy choices at the dining hall can be tricky. Not only are many of the foods fried or covered in cheese, but the portions are also huge. Rather than filling up on pizza or fried foods, opt for salads, fresh fruit, steamed vegetables, or baked or grilled meats. Try to avoid the pastas and cream sauces altogether or pick small portions and balance them out with a fresh salad on the side.
Even if you eat most of your meals at the dining hall, you’ll want to have at least a few snacks on hand for when hunger pangs strike outside of mealtime. For instance, fresh vegetables and hummus or fresh fruit and your favorite nut butter are nutritious choices. If you don’t have a refrigerator, there are plenty of equally healthy snacks that can be kept in air-tight containers.
Skip the Drinks
From soda and smoothies to espresso drinks, most are packed with sugar and empty calories. Rather than making these drinks part of your daily diet, keep cold water, tea, and coffee on hand. You’ll spare yourself hundreds of calories and tons of sugar.
Find a Workout Routine You Love
While eating healthy is a big part of avoiding the freshman 15, adding more movement to your routine is just as important. Your workouts can be just as organized or freeform as you want. Find a gym routine you love, join an intramural team, or go running before class every morning. Just make sure you’re working your muscles and getting your blood pumping several times a week.
Know Your Triggers
Even when you develop a diet and exercise plan, certain events can disrupt your routine and cause get you off track. If you tend to overeat and under-exercise at certain times of the year or when you’re stressed, do your best to anticipate these events before they happen. Develop a game plan, such as scheduling gym time with a friend or stocking extra healthy snacks, to stay successful.
From dining hall specials to dinners out with friends, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make unhealthy choices. But when you keep these tips in mind, you’ll keep yourself on a healthy track and resist weight.