7 Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

by in Uncategorized, September 15, 2013

Whether you are a freshman with on-campus housing and a dining plan or a senior in your own apartment, healthy eating at college is achievable and it doesn’t need to involve deprivation or dieting.

At the Dining Hall 
• Make room for fruit: Most campus dining halls offer a variety of whole fruits such as apples, pears, bananas, and oranges as well as cut fruits like melon and berries. Add cut fruit to your salad, a bowl of yogurt or cereal or, for a sweet treat, pile berries onto a small bowl of frozen yogurt for dessert. Grab a few pieces of whole fruit to take with you as a simple and healthy snack on the go or in your dorm or apartment.

• Expand your horizons: Most dining halls offer an all-you-can-eat meal plan. Instead of overindulging use the opportunity to try new, healthy foods your may not have had before. Experiment with unsweetened milk alternatives like almond and coconut milk, whole grains and vegetables that are new to you.

• Mix and match: Grab the entrée of the day like a piece of grilled chicken or even a slice of pizza and pair it with a salad instead of sides like butter-laden veggies or french fries. You can even ask for a plain piece of chicken or steamed vegetables and make it tastier by heading to the pasta station for some tomato sauce to use as a topping.

• Bring your own: Sure, the dining hall is free but that doesn’t mean you can’t supplement what is offered with your own food. Bring a handful of nuts to add to your salad. And if the dressings that are offered are not great you can bring that with you as well.

Off Campus
• Cook! A sure-fire way to eat well and save some money is to use your kitchen. Avoiding processed foods is important to a healthy lifestyle. Instead of eating a meal from a box, experiment in the kitchen. Create simple, healthy recipes and don’t be afraid of making too much. Leftovers mean meals for days to come.

• Eat Less Meat: Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Grains, beans and rice are inexpensive staples that can easily act as the main component of a meal. Add fresh or frozen vegetables and simple seasonings are you have good-for-you grub on a college budget.

• Limit the Junk: The less junk food you have hanging around your apartment or dorm room, the better. Here are some simple foods to keep on hand to satisfy snacking cravings.

 Light Popcorn
 Whole-grain pretzels
 Low-sugar granola bars
 Trail mix
 Dark chocolate covered almonds
 Instant oatmeal
 String cheese
 Low-fat yogurt
 Hummus

What is your go-to healthy college meal?

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie’s full bio »

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Comments (6)

  1. […] View Original Article Filed Under: Articles · […]

  2. tosi says:

    Good advice for healthy eating but… the "Freshman 15" is a myth.

  3. Jay says:

    Ironically enough, I was trying to lose weight before starting college fresh year, so I ended up in the opposite boat. At the dining hall, I stuck to egg white omelets with ham and veggies (no cheese), grilled chicken, turkey sandwiches, and salad. I drank a ton of diet coke (which i've since quit, thankfully) mostly to keep me up during those all nighters. Yes, the same food all the time got boring, but I stuck with it and ended up losing 40 lbs between the summer before college and the start of 2nd semester.

    • Jay says:

      Forgot to add, i took advantage of the gym as much as possible. That certainly contributed to it a lot, and allowed me to not worry so much about when I was having a few (…dozen haha) drinks on the weekends.

      • Jay says:

        Annnd one more thing: if your friends are ordering in food, always try to pick the healthiest option and just keep telling yourself it'll be worth it in the long run. That pizza or general tso's chicken might be tempting, but don't fall into the trap. The snacks listed in the post are all great idea. I used many of them back then.

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