Monday, 30 September 2013

7 Ways to Avoid the Freshman 15

As a university student maintaining a proper diet was one of the main challenges I faced during my first year as I was never able to strike a balance between eating junk food and eating healthy foods.

Therefore I am sharing a few pearls of my own wisdom as a now wiser 4th year university student on beating the troublesome Freshman 15:

1 Beware of Junk Food

A slice of pizza and pop is very convenient when grabbing a quick bite between classes but this does not serve as a proper meal in terms of nutritional value. Try planning ahead and pack lunch from home, or choose a healthier option like a soup and salad before being tempted into buying a greasy burger with extra fries.

2 Cheap CAN = Healthy

As university students our budgets do not allow us to go “gourmet”  all the time, but there is such a thing as too much KD (Kraft Dinner) and too many Ramen noodles. 

There are a lot of creative and healthy options available even when living on a shoe string budget.  Check out the Campus Food Bank or for cheap, easy, and healthy meal solutions.

3 Moderation is Key

Drinking when socializing can be fun whether at a party, to celebrate a special occasion, or for just another reason to hang out with your friends; but always remember the key word – moderation. Anything in excess is not good and coupled with bad hangovers and empty calories avoiding  ”one more drink” will help you stay a little healthier.

Limiting the number of parties attended over a weekend, or keeping a tab on your alcohol intake can also come in handy when  keeping a check on your waistline. 

4 Don't Forget to Move

Studies are important and with quizzes, assignments, and exams happening year round sometimes it is hard to squeeze in time for anything else in our daily routine. However, try allotting a minimum of half an hour each day for something you enjoy that involves movement. This could range from going to the pool  for a couple of laps after classes, or just pulling out the old Hula hoop for a spin.

Physical activities can get you feeling more pumped up and can prove to be a natural stress buster. They can also provide a much needed mental break between assignments.

5 Again, Moderation... and Rest

With exams comes stress and as students most of us tend to resort to energy drinks and copious amounts of coffee to help keep focus during exam season. Caffeinated beverages like energy drinks provide a quick fix when trying to pull all nighters. However, energy drinks do contain a lot of empty calories and they can cause you to suffer a major crash after a couple of hours. 

Try to stay away from energy drinks, drink a reasonable amount of coffee (don't become reliant on it), and try sleeping. And maybe, just maybe, try to avoid procrastinating when it comes to your study time... the more homework and studying you have done in advance will lead to a reduction in the amount of all nighters (and energy drinks) you need.

6 Be Your Own Parent and Be Responsible

Moving away  from home has a big effect on one’s lifestyle. The freedom to eat and sleep whenever you want is liberating, but at the same time you should remember to take care of yourself. Just because you don’t have to listen to your parents telling you to maintain a proper balanced diet doesn’t mean that you should avoid telling yourself to do the same. 

7 Snack Well

Keeping a check on midnight munchies and unhealthy snacking is also a good strategy when trying to maintain a healthy diet. Apples are great snacks for when you want a healthy crunch in between or during classes, and are surprisingly filling as well. And unlike most chips, you can eat just one.

These were a few tips to help fend off the Freshman 15; feel free to share any other tips that might have worked for you in the comment section below. 


About the Author

When I am not busy with engineering school, I love painting in abstracts. I am also a huge movie buff and will watch anything with zombies in it.

I would like to share stories that are personal and reflective of the great community we have built here at the U of A. My experience at the university so far has brought forward a tremendous amount of personal growth, and I can’t wait to help share the wonderful stories and student experiences of this amazing university.


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