Six Tips to Steer Clear of the Freshman 15


I remember oh so clearly why I gained the freshman 15: unlimited bacon at breakfast. Dining hall offerings are healthier (and tastier) these days. Our interns, Hannah and Molly, offer up six tips to avoid gaining weight and staying healthy that first year.

1.) Skip the midnight snacking.

In the moment, indulging in pepperoni pizza and Insomnia Cookies with friends may sound like a good idea, but the aftermath will not be so pleasant. From a nutritional standpoint, having a large amount of food in the middle of the night, when the body is trying to digest and reset for the next day, can negatively impact one’s metabolic and digestive functions.

2.) The salad bar is a student’s most trustworthy companion.

College dining halls, while now boasting a variety of healthy options, are still stockpiled with pasta, grilled cheese, cookies, ice cream, brownies, and fries. The safest choices to make in the dining hall live at the salad bar, which is typically filled with leafy greens, freshly chopped vegetables, hard boiled eggs, olive oil, and even hummus.

Additionally, check to see if the dining hall offers simply grilled chicken, fish, or beef, as any of these can act as a protein-packed salad topper. (Side tip: Mixing olive oil and balsamic vinegar together, in a 2 to 1 ratio, is one of the cleanest, easiest dressing options.)

3.) Keep healthy snacks in the dorm room.

LARABARS, mixed nuts, bananas, and apples are some examples of nutritious, grab-and-go eats. They’re perfect for when students are in a lengthy lecture class, studying in the library, or don’t have enough time between classes for lunch. Plus, eating healthy snacks, as opposed to processed goods such as Cheetos and Nutella, improves students’ ability to focus, sleep, maintain weight, and manage stress.

4.) Eat breakfast daily.

Studying all night for an exam and not eating a filling breakfast is ineffective, especially when compared with studying for a few hours, sleeping for 7-8 hours, and fueling up with protein (e.g.; eggs), healthy carbs (e.g.; fruit), and good fats (e.g.; nut butter) in the morning.

5.)   Find some sort of physical activity that is fun, and make it a habit. 

Whether it’s yoga, cycle classes, lifting weights, doing circuit workouts with a friend, or going for walks/runs outside, exercise (in any form) is a trademark of a healthy lifestyle and one of the most effective stress relievers.

6.)   Selectively pick and choose when to splurge and when to eat healthy.

Students should enjoy treats here and there, but opting for extra pasta and dessert every night doesn’t create a nutrient-rich diet. Instead, choose treats wisely; French fries and a milkshake on a Friday with friends is perfectly fine, if healthy choices have been made for the majority of the week. It’s all about balance.

Check out Hannah’s Blog, Wholesomely Hannah, here.