Leading up to the new school year, we are excited to feature Zoë Crego of Her Campus as a guest contributor. Zoë is a Communications major at the University of Ottawa and serves as co-Editor-in-Chief of the uOttawa chapter of Her Campus. Stay tuned for the remainder of this six-part series about what every first-year student needs to know.
Health & Nutrition
I’m going to say it: The Freshman Fifteen. We’ve all heard horror stories of first-year students who gain weight due to their new environment. The fact is, the dreaded Freshman Fifteen can be avoided if you pay attention to what you’re eating and have good time management skills. If you’re on a meal plan, make sure you switch up your meals often. This means not always navigating to the same unhealthy food options.
On the other hand, make sure you don’t deprive yourself and only eat salad if you know it’s not going to fill you up. If you eat food that will leave you unsatisfied, you are more likely to snack on unhealthy options later on in the day. So it’s important to switch up your meals with others that will keep you sustained for several hours.
Switching up your eating habits is only one step in the process – you need to exercise time management! If you leave yourself more time to eat a meal, you’ll probably pick more sustainable meal options as opposed to one slice of pizza that you scarf down on the way to class.
The trick is leaving yourself enough time to walk to the cafeteria, sit down and eat a meal at a normal pace or leave yourself enough time at home to pack a meal to bring with you to class. If you always factor time into your schedule to eat and prepare meals, you won’t have to rely on buying quick snacks last minute.
Consider these healthy eating tips from Her Campus and registered dietician Joy Bauer:
- Plan ahead and eat snacks that are tasty and energizing, not just junk food that gives a quick boost followed by a big crash. Veggies, hummus, grapes, and nuts keep your body energized and your brain focused.
- Make wise choices if you have buffet-style dining. Fill your plate with veggies first, keep your starch portions small, and avoid fried food altogether. Indulge in fruit to feed your sweet tooth, not candy.
- Ditch pop altogether, even the diet variety. Drink water instead to stay healthy and hydrated. If you need a pick-me-up, drink black coffee or tea.
- If you’re always on the go, consider making smoothies packed with nutrient-rich foods like bananas or kale.
- Beware of drinking your calories. An average glass of white wine has about 120 calories, an average beer has 150, and a fruity sugary mixed drink like piña colada has more calories than a Big Mac!
- When you do want to cheat, opt for portion packs – don’t just munch on a family-sized bag of potato chips or M&Ms. Take a small handful and enjoy.
Health and nutrition is all about balance and making smart choices. With these tips,you can steer clear of the dreaded Freshman Fifteen.