Stay Healthy in College and Prevent the Freshman Fifteen

College is all about change and learning. Entertain the idea of what you can accomplish and who you can become. Develop healthy habits now for a better quality of life to last a lifetime. There are several ways to prevent weight gain while in college. Just remember not to be too hard on yourself. It is okay to gain a little weight. The idea is to remain generally fit and healthy.


Invest in a reusable water bottle

Camelbak makes BPA free, water bottles in a variety of colors and sizes with ounce and milliliter markers all along the length of the bottle. This allows you to keep track of how much water you are consuming. It is a handy feature because people often believe they are hungry when they are actually feeling thirst. Strive for at least two liters of water per day to remain hydrated and prevent overeating.


Keep a food journal for one week

It is a little extra work that will pay off afterward. Write down everything you eat and drink. Include the amounts, too. The amounts do not have to be precise. You just need a general idea of how much you’re eating; for example, one medium plateful of spaghetti. Write down how you felt just before eating and for a little while after eating. This will give you invaluable information. You’ll learn which foods tire you out, which give you a stomach ache, which give you energy, which leave you feeling hungry, and which leave you satisfied for a few hours. You’ll become more attuned to your body’s needs, too.


Burn calories by walking or bike riding instead of driving

You may walk every day, but you probably also drive or get a ride when possible. Is your next class across campus? Do you have the time or can you make the time to walk there instead of driving? Find a friend to walk with or listen to music to strengthen your resolve. If walking does not work, maybe bike riding would work better for you. It is a great alternative if you don’t have the time or interest in walking.


Eat more whole foods

Whole foods are foods that have experienced little or no processing. Be creative but keep it simple. You don’t need a kitchen to whip up healthy, easy snacks for school. There is the obvious PB&J or meat and cheese sandwich, but there is so much more to keep you interested. Wasa crackers dominate for a crunchy take on sandwiches. Just replace the bread with a Wasa cracker on either end, and fill with whatever you like; spinach, cheese, and mustard; tzatziki sauce, lettuce, and chicken; tomato, salt, pepper, olive oil, and mozzarella; or anything else you can imagine.


Be creative but keep it simple

Hummus is a healthier and tastier substitute for mayonnaise. Cucumbers can be sliced and eaten as-is, salted, or added to a Wasa sandwich. Yellow squash can be sliced into thin slivers with a vegetable peeler and placed in a bowl in the microwave for sixty seconds with a bit of oil and a dash of sea salt. Add crushed walnuts afterward and you have a hearty snack ready to be demolished. The options are only limited by your imagination.

Following the steps above will not only help prevent weight gain, they will help you maintain energy throughout the day and develop healthy lifestyle habits for a lifetime. It only takes a little forethought and effort to stay healthy in college. What do you have to lose? Give it a shot.