Have kids that have left the nest in favor of a college dorm? Don’t be surprised if they come home next summer a bit rounder. Although gaining the freshman 15 is largely a myth, some weight gain is common. According to a study, college freshman usually just gain a few pounds their first year of college, but they tend to gain a few more throughout their entire college experience.
Thankfully for their waistlines, there are things that can be done to avoid gaining weight freshman year and beyond. These tips come from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Be Prepared For Stress
Being away from home for the first time, missing friends and family and cramming for exams can all be recipes for stress and anxiety. When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you may reach for a bowl of chips or pint of ice cream and indulge in some emotional eating.
When you’re feeling stressed, replace the emotional snacking with a phone call to mom or a brisk walk.
Stock up on healthy food that you can grab between meals and studying sessions. Avoid high fat, processed foods that will only drag you down when you actually crave energy. Consider apples and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, yogurt, dried fruit and nuts.
Skipping breakfast can cause you to overeat at lunch and dinner, a trigger for weight gain. Getting a healthy start to your day will also keep you energized and focused during classes, while kick-starting your metabolism.
Dining Hall 101
Eating meals at the cafeteria can go either way. You can choose pizza for every meal, or fill up on a healthy salad, lean protein and whole grains. Avoid foods that are fried, made with cream sauce, or buttered.
Keep portions in mind, always filling your plate halfway with vegetables. Grab some fruit and yogurt to go, and you’ll have a healthy snack or breakfast for the next day.
Ease Up On Alcohol
Alcohol is readily available among the college crowd, despite if you’re 21 or not. If you’re not of legal age, skip the alcohol and the extra calories and trouble that come with it.
For students who are of age, have just one light beer or glass of wine. Avoid mixing liquor with soft drinks, which are packed with empty calories. Drink in moderation, and alternate drinks with a big glass of water. Always eat a full meal before going out.
Keep It Moving
College students are busy, and sometimes it’s hard to fit in the time to work out. Young adults who used to be active playing sports in high school may gain weight when all of the activity comes to an abrupt halt. Give your school’s gym a try. They often are free with tuition and sometimes have classes that come with a membership.
If a gym isn’t your style, walk or bike to class or work to get in some extra exercise. Exercising isn’t just great to keep your weight in check, it will also stave off stress and make you feel better.