|How to avoid the 'Freshman 15'||Sep. 6, 2009|
|Provided by: Sun Media|
|Written by: FRAN BERKOFF|
|Starting university doesn't have to mean putting on the pounds|
In the next week, many of you will be heading off for your first year of university, and among all the new experiences you can look forward to -- the famous addition of extra pounds is not on the list. Often called the "Freshman 15", this weight gain that people talk about is a result of many things, including the freedom to eat anything you want, fast food when time is short, parties, stress, late-night pizzas, cafeteria food, lots more alcohol and of course, no home-cooked healthy meals from mom.
The Freshman 15 concept has been studied and some results show it should really be the Freshman 10 or even less. In my mind, the actual number doesn't matter -- it's the whole idea that going away to school means an automatic weight gain which should be challenged. While it's not easy to avoid those few extra pounds, it is possible, and here are some suggestions that can help:
If you are on a meal plan that gives you anything you want to eat, look for healthiest foods. For example, start dinner with soup, fill your plate first with vegetables (ask for a double portion) and then add in the meat, chicken or vegetarian entree. Go to the salad bar before the hot food.
Many campuses have some healthier options available in the cafeteria. Some have salad bars, vegetarian options, sushi or sandwich bars.
If you're living in an apartment, stock your shelves with cans of tuna or salmon, tomato sauces, bulk-size pasta or rice, canned beans, soups, whole grain crackers, breads, flour tortillas and bagels. If your fridge has a big enough freezer, buy boxes of frozen chicken, fish (not the breaded kinds unless they are lower in fat), burgers, meat balls or veggie burgers for dinners in a hurry. Shopping in bulk is more economical: and also look for the weekly specials and shop with these in mind.
Ask family or friends to send you their favourite quick, easy and healthy recipes.
If it's in your neighbourhood, order from grocerygateway.com. They deliver food right to your door and it's a great time-saver.
Don't ignore some convenience foods but "healthy them up" when possible. For example, Kraft dinner is economical and you can add vegetables (canned, fresh or frozen) or a can of tuna for extra nutrition.
Exercise is a good way to burn off extra calories and get rid of some stress. Walk to school if you can or take a walk between classes. Join the gym or sign up for an exercise class. Find a walking or a running partner or take up Pilates, yoga or tai chi.
Go easy on liquid calories--soft drinks, alcohol, juices, smoothies and fancy coffee drinks, which can pack a hefty calorie count. Start first with water (no calories), sugar free pop or plain tea or coffee.
Keep healthy snack foods on hand for times when you won't want to cook or are up late studying. Good choices include cereal, yogurt (both plain and frozen), fresh fruit or individual serving cans of fruit, low fat puddings, cheese strings, crackers or mini-pitas with cheese (try some of the lower fat varieties), hummus or other bean dips, bags of carrots, granola bars (the low fat variety) or breakfast bars, instant bean soups. Keep some energy bars around for the occasional missed meal.
Put your snack on a plate or bowl rather than eat from the package - you'll eat less.
Use vending machines as a last resort unless you are lucky enough to have some with healthier items in them.
|MORE COLUMNS BY FRAN BERKOFF|