Healthy Living

Combating ‘Freshman Fifteen’: Simple Diet Guide For College Students

The first year of college is a life changing year since it involves juggling jobs, classes, homework and new friendships. A change in the diet is inevitable with adopting a new fast-paced lifestyle. The term ‘Freshman Fifteen (pounds)’ comes from the weight gained by recent college entrants in their first year since they struggle to balance various activities. 

Easy access to carbohydrates and fast food makes it difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Many students take advantage of their youthful metabolism by binge eating, hoping to eventually lose the weight. But this may not be always possible without crash dieting. So, here is a guide to make it easier for college freshmen to eat healthy, which was recently published on Diet Doctor. 

Breakfast - Most college students have the habit of oversleeping and eating during the small window of time before classes begin. Grabbing cereal bars or bagels could start the day off badly with sugar and carbohydrates. The healthier options could be either eggs or sandwiches that are made quickly in the dorm room or picked up at a nearby restaurant.   

Sprinkling some cheese, butter and spinach on the egg dishes could add a little extra oomph factor to the mundane breakfast meal. When it comes to making sandwiches, adding sausages and cheese could be healthier alternatives to carb filled pancakes and waffles. Fruits like bananas and apples are easy to munch on the way to the first class. Nuts and yogurt are not bad ideas too. 

Caffeine - Students use caffeine to remain on high alert since college can be demanding. But too much coffee comes with a high dose of sugar since they might contain caramel and whipped cream. Opting for black tea or coffee could be the ideal choice to cut sugar intake. Choosing drinks without artificial sweeteners could also help maintain weight. 

Restrict yourself and avoid deserts like muffins or cakes since food in coffee shops have sugar, flour and baked with tons of sugar. Also, avoid sodas and carbonated drinks. 

Junk Food - Try to cut out bread, pasta and sugar as much as you can from the diet. Instead make the time to pair protein with vegetables. Exercise in moderation and do not starve yourself since the goal is to avoid unnecessary weight gain and not to become anorexic. 

Ensure the fridge in your dorm room does not have any tempting foods. Keep only nuts, cheese and dark chocolate as snacks. Since American colleges send students alerts on the closest restaurant to get free food, it might be tempting to have pizza and donuts. So, when these alerts do show up, it is best to exercise restraint. 

Stay dehydrated throughout the day, especially during exams. And do not give into the urges to consume snacks rich in sugar and starch to deal with stress. Opt for nuts, cheese, hummus, boiled eggs and vegetables. 

Frat Party - Drinking too much could result in beer belly. Be aware of sugary drinks that do not taste like alcohol since they could be hiding huge doses of sugar. When out with friends, drink light beer only. Do not load up on fries, pasta and chicken wings, post drinks. Go for protein and fat instead of carbohydrates and sugar to satisfy hunger pangs after drinks. 

College Drinking For college students, gaining weight is an unavoidable part of their journey. Photo courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Raedle

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