National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week is upon us this month. We have 8 tips on beating the dreaded "Freshman 15" and tackling college cafeterias. While going off to college is an adjustment, it doesn't have to mean a bigger pant size. You are in control!
1. Don't Skip Breakfast
Skipping meals is never a good idea, especially breakfast. The first meal of the day wakes up your metabolism and gives you energy to take on the day. You'll be more alert in your morning classes without a rumbling stomach.
2. Avoid Emotional Overeating
Leaving home for college, whether in a new city close by or many miles away, can be stressful. Making new friends, living with new roommates and balancing college life can trigger lots of different emotions. If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, go for a brisk walk. Avoid mindless eating when you aren't hungry with new activities like going to an exercise class at the student gym center. This can be a great way to meet new friends with healthy habits too!
3. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
Out of sight, out of mind! If you don't buy that bag of chips or cookies, you won't eat them. Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. Think carrots and hummus or apples and peanut butter. Air-popped popcorn provides that crunch but without the fat and calories. Read the labels of your groceries and stick to organic whole options when you can. Prepare for success!
4. Workout Buddy
You are a lot more inclined to make it to the gym or a workout class if you plan to meet a friend. Gym dates will keep you social and fit! College campuses tend to have a lot of group exercise classes that are free of charge or available for a small fee.
5. Watch Drinking Calories
The average glass of wine packs 125 calories and beer is closer to 150. Adding in sugary mixers like soda or juices make the calorie count even higher. Drinking enough water throughout the day not only keeps you feeling full but hydrated. Try drinking a glass of water in between drinks to curb some of those drinking calories too.
6. Cafeteria Tips
Meal plans are a common occurrence on college campuses with freshman. Hello buffets and endless assortments of caloric treats. Salad bars can be your friend, just watch the add ons like bacon, cheese, croutons and creamy dressings. Getting dressing on the side, like oil and vinegar, will always help you cut back on consumption. Try fruit for dessert and save an apple or banana later for a snack. Moderation is key so be mindful of portion size.
7. Take a Gym Class for Credit
It is becoming an increasingly popular part of college curriculum to sign up for a gym or exercise class for credit. Whether it's Weightlifting 101, rock climbing or tennis, your school may have a lot of fun options! Try something new and get credit while staying active.
Sleep is key in balancing a healthy lifestyle, especially in college. Missing out on the recommended 7-9 hours can have negative effects on your body. The longer you stay awake, the more calories you will likely ingest. All nighters may be necessary before big tests so stock up on high protein snacks to keep you focused and full.