You’ve probably heard of the Freshman 15 — the extra weight you put on from your first year in college. But it doesn’t have to be inevitable. You can stay healthy and eat right despite the cafeteria temptations and late night dining sessions. These tips can keep your health as much as a priority as your grades.
1. The Mini Fridge is Essential
Healthy means fresh, and fresh often means perishable. While many fruits and veggies can be stored elsewhere, you’ll want a fridge to keep nutritious leftovers, farm fresh milk and eggs, or even easy-to-cook chicken breasts.
2. Meal Plan in Advance
Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you mainly eat at the cafeteria. Today, most schools provide nutritional content with its food calendars so you can simply research and pick. Mark the choice on your phone or on a whiteboard in your dorm so you know exactly what you need to eat that day.
3. Lower Your Meal Plan
Speaking of cafeteria food, if you’re more concerned about eating primarily natural foods or learning to cook for yourself, having a mega meal plan is not going to help. If possible, keep your meal plan on the low to medium range of offerings so you are forced to depend on yourself.
4. Stash Whole Snacks
Believe it or not, but snacking is an essential part of eating well. Plan to eat 6-8 small meals per day instead of 3. Space them between classes or activities. But most importantly go shopping often so you have a wide range of choices. Some ideas include granola bars, fruit, and nuts.
5. Avoid Calorie-Heavy Drinks
That venti iced double mocha latte you’re addicted to isn’t helping you. Stick to water to help you feel full and refreshed all day long. If you want flavor, consider adding fruits and cucumber to a pitcher overnight or purchasing sugar-free additives.
6. Reprioritize Your Meals
You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s true! Breakfast is essential as it sets you off on the right foot (especially when you eat well) and keeps your energy up for class and gym session.
7. Concentrate on Size Rather than Calories
Calories are easy if you know what each value is. But knowing the correct size you’re eating is much harder. Some easy ways to remember portion size is to use your hand: your thumb is a tablespoon, your palm is about 3 oz worth of meat, your fist is 6-8 oz of a drink.
8. Use Free Nutrition Trackers
There are so many helpful, detailed, and free nutrition trackers out there, that it can be hard to choose one. Our advice is to go with the tracker that is simple to use on the go (mobile is best) and is easy to figure out for any new nutrition watcher.
9. Eat In With Friends
One of our biggest downfalls is going out frequently with friends. Late night pizza, delivered Chinese food, ice cream dates… those calories and bad choices add up so fast. You can change this by promising yourself to eating out only once a week (or less) and instead, cooking for or with friends. You’ll get the same social time while also showing off your healthy cooking skills. It’s a lifestyle change we can all get behind.
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