It’s week three into the University semester. By now you’re preparing for the semester ahead and enjoying a new found sense of independence. All this, while trying to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15. Don’t be worried just yet, the Freshman 15 is a myth! That’s right – studies suggest most students gain between 2.5 to 3.5 pounds during their first year of University. That’s far below the supposed 15 pounds… Phewf!

Nonetheless, there are many reasons why weight seems to creep on in freshman year. With moving out of your parent’s house and into a dorm room comes the challenge of managing meals and snacks. You’re also spending more time with your head between books and less time planning physical activity. And now that you’re finally legal, you may be consuming alcohol regularly and the calories could be adding up!

Freshman 15

Make smart lifestyle choices where you can. Here are some simple nutrition and fitness tips to keep in mind as you hit campus this year!

BRAIN BREAK

Studying requires breaks, and breaks call for snacks! Feeling stressed as you study for that calculus midterm may lead to overindulgent snack breaks. Something like the convenience store cookies, chips, or sweets. Forget the impromptu grub and keep brain food on hand! Try:

  • a piece of fruit
  • carrots and hummus
  • a high fiber granola bar
  • cheese sticks
  • hard boiled eggs

CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION

Believe it or not, cafeteria food CAN be healthy and thankfully most Universities do a great job providing nutritious options. Do yourself a favour and scope out the vendors on campus. Find out who serves grilled, baked, broiled, steamed or roasted entrees. Look out for salad bars with plenty of fresh veggies and some protein. Fast food options tend to over-serve carbohydrates so try to find establishments that are happy to serve less starch and more veggies.

MIX AND MINGLE

Whether you’re out at the campus pub fundraiser or celebrating the end of exams, alcohol is sure to be present. Too much drinking can add up in calories quickly and make an impact on your waistline. On average:

  • 1 355 ml beer = 130 calories
  • 5 oz of wine = 120 calories
  • 1 ounce of liquor = 60 calories
  • 1 ounce of liquor mixed with regular pop = 130 calories

Try this incognito move – cut back on your alcohol intake by alternating each drink with a glass of water! You could even mix alcoholic drinks with diet soda or club soda, which are low calorie options.

GET A MOVE ON

It’s easy to park your butt in the library and forget to give your brain a good ol’ fashioned oxygen break. But remember, your brain needs activity aside from memorizing calculus formulas. Use the campus workout facilities during your spare, sign up for some group classes at the fitness center, or join an intramural team. Even if you live at home and spend most of your time on campus, think about taking advantage of these on-campus activities!

Don’t let the Freshman 15 myth get the best of you – keep these tips in mind as you adjust to studying and new found freedom!