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Many college freshmen find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight during the first year of college. The sheer abundance of food in any college cafeteria often makes it hard for students to make wise food choices.
Instead of one main entrée option, the cafeteria customer may encounter dozens of choices available for each meal. The bread basket is always full, and rich desserts beckon at the end of the line. Add this to late-night study sessions complete with chips and pizza and a student may end up gaining the dreaded freshman fifteen..Weight gain at college doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion, however. Learning to make healthy choices during those first crucial months away from home can set the student up for a lifetime of good food and fitness habits. Food is, of course, the biggest culprit when it comes to gaining weight.
Aim to fill at least half of each plate with vegetables. Most school cafeterias have a salad bar, so take advantage of it at both lunch and dinner. Add one serving of protein (no larger than a deck of cards) and a small serving of fruit or a starch. Believe it or not, snacks are important, too. Keep the dorm room stocked with healthy granola or protein bars. If a refrigerator is available, stock it with vegetables and hummus or low-fat bean dip to quench those midnight munchies. Stay away from foods with rich sauces and heavy amounts of cheese. Most importantly, always eat something for breakfast!It is also important for students to keep active while away at school. Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity per day. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Get up just a few minutes early, and take the long way to class. Always take the stairs instead of the elevators. Enlist new friends to go for a walk or a jog.
Many schools offer free fitness classes, so attend them – it is a great way to make new friends! And don’t forget that aerobic activity is only half of the battle. It is important to maintain muscle strength in order to keep the metabolism humming. A simple set of free weights can easily be stored under a dorm room bed.
These tips should ensure that those favorite jeans will still fit at the end of the first semester.
This post is brought to you by Argosy University. Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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