If you’ve just started college you may have already accepted your fate; you’re going to gain weight. In the midst of stress and a brand new environment is the lure of junk food, alcohol, and 3:00 am pizza deliveries. The “Freshman 15” may seem unavoidable, but not with these tips.
1. Alcohol has calories; empty calories. If you don’t want to gain weight, don’t drink it! Since that’s not a realistic request for many college students, keep it to a minimum. Light beer, plain liquor with soda water or wine are the best options. Alternate water between every drink to stay hydrated and avoid a hangover. But it doesn’t matter if your alcohol is the healthier choice, you’ll still gain weight if you binge drink.
2. Keep snacks handy. You may be in trouble if you find yourself getting hungry during class. By the time you’re back in the dorm or home you’re RAVENOUS and boom, you just inhale whatever you can get your hands on. Pack snacks to keep hunger at bay throughout the day. A small bag of almonds or walnuts, wheel of cheese, or a Kind bar are some great options. Remember that snacks have calories, so don’t overdo it.
3. Healthy cafeteria options. Stick to words “grilled,” “steamed,” “raw,” or “baked.” Avoid words like “fried,” “crispy,” or “sautéed.” Stay away from heavy creams and dressings. Don’t be afraid to ask for nutrition facts or ingredients. Many kitchens will be happy to help.
4. Eat breakfast. Ahem, your mother was right: Eating breakfast will help jump start your metabolism, energize you for the day and keep hunger pangs in check. Here’s an easy breakfast you can take with you if you’re not hungry first thing in the morning.
Overnight oats in a jar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
Mix all ingredients in a mason jar and let soak overnight. Layer with berries and almonds, peanut butter, or any fun toppings you can think of!
With assistance from Kelly Katzman, nutrition intern