A newfound sense of independence often has big implications for freshmen – and their waist lines. The “freshman 15” is a term coined in reference to the rapid weight gain often typical of new college students. Now away from the parents and their vegetables, and wielding a meal plan that can bring virtually any food to your fingertips, you, and freshmen alike, may easily find yourself in a spiral of poor nutritional habits and the extra baggage to show for it.
The eating decisions you make during your developmental college years can shape your diet – and you – forever. But there are ways to avoid what has become, for many, an uphill battle to shed the pounds of their initial college food splurges.
First of all, remember to always eat three meals a day. It may seem silly, especially to those who assume that eating more always equals more fat. But by choosing to eat smart, you’re really jump-starting your metabolism and burning calories for the rest of the day. So while sleeping in may be appealing, a healthy breakfast can make a huge difference. Eat dinner at an earlier time and don’t rely on Fourth Meal to be an actual meal. Fried food provides more saturated fat than actual nutritive value, which means that regular late night trips to the chicken tender line will plump you up by winter break.
Look out for nutrition facts and healthier eating options at any of the food courts. Grab sushi or a vegetarian wrap at the Student Center. When making a salad look for flavored vinegars instead of heavy dressings. And whenever possible look for whole wheat or multi-grain bread instead of white or potato; your body will thank you for it. Have a serious fast-food craving? Go to Subway on Cecil B. Moore Avenue or stop by the fruit truck on 13th Street outside of Barton Hall for a healthier option to lunch-truck snacking.
Also, though dorms and apartments are all well equipped with an usable gym, take trips often to the IBC. If running on a treadmill doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, look for group classes that range from yoga to water aerobics to creative dancing. There is something available for every interest so get active, be smart and help to make the Freshman 15 merely a thing of the past.
Jessica Cohen can be reached at email@example.com.