Stave Off The Freshman 15 With The Healthy 12

  • author name Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN
College students

Going off to college and living on your own is an exciting time. Along with the excitement comes the challenge of eating in dining halls, cafes and fast food restaurants; snacking in the dorms; and grabbing food on the go between classes. But you can stay on track by making healthy choices.

12 Ways to Avoid the Freshman 15

  1. Make smart food choices: Choose meals and snacks that consist of veggies, fruit, whole grains, lean protein, and lower-fat lower-sugar dairy products. Keep the fried, processed food for “only occasionally.”
  2. Don’t graze: As much as possible, take time for regular meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to prevent grazing that can keep you from ever feeling full, and always feeling hungry.
  3. Plan ahead: Look ahead in your day, and plan accordingly. Pack healthy snacks if you know you won’t be able to have a full meal around meal times. This will keep you from having to hit the vending machine.
  4. Make healthy convenient: Keep easy-to-grab healthy items in your dorm room or apartment, like salad mixes, fresh fruit, cut-up veggies, hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, nuts, seeds, nut butter, trail mix (skip the candy and yogurt-coated), and low-fat microwave popcorn. Don’t forget portioned portable containers and/or bags to pack your snacks.
  5. Stay hydrated: Always pack a reusable water bottle in your backpack.
  6. Be aware of what you’re eating: If the establishment in which you’re eating has nutrition info, read it. You might be surprised how many calories are in that slice of pizza!
  7. Watch your portions: Remember that portion size matters, no matter what you’re choosing.
  8. Eat only when you’re hungry.
  9. Avoid mindless eating: It can be tempting to eat when you’re studying to stay awake. This mindless eating can lead to eating a lot more than what you need. Instead, sip on a no-calorie beverage, like hot or iced unsweetened tea, decaf coffee, or seltzer. Stay away from diet sodas. Even though they’re “zero calories,” they have negative effects on your health.
  10. Watch your plate: If you eat at an all-you-can-eat establishment, include a large salad or half a plate of veggies with your meal. Avoid dessert or choose a very small portion.
  11. Buddy-up with someone who believes in healthy eating. Eat meals together so you’re both inspired to make healthy choices. If you can’t eat together, ask your buddy to pick up something healthy for you so you can eat it later. You can do the same for your buddy when he or she can’t make it to the healthy restaurant with you.
  12. Get your zzzs: Keep in mind that sleep deprivation hinders appetite control, so do your best to get the rest you need.

The “freshman 15” doesn’t have to be your reality. By making some easy, healthy choices, you can soar into your sophomore year feeling and looking your best.

author name

Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN

Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN, is a wellness dietitian with Lancaster General Health Corporate Wellness.

Education: Janelle Glick holds a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Messiah College and a M.A. in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University. Her special areas of interest include weight management and health coaching.

Call: 717-544-3527

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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