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How to avoid the "Freshman 15"

By Shirley Chen
On August 26, 2013

Have you ever heard of the "Freshman 15?" As most, if not all of you know, it is an expression for the fifteen-pound weight gain a college student gets during their first year. You have complete access to a wide variety and an unlimited amount of food in the dining hall. It is easy to eat poorly, as there are all different kinds of fried and greasy food available every day. But it can also be easy to eat nutritiously. Here are 7 tips that will help you avoid the "Freshman 15."
Tip 1: Look at the menus ahead of time. It is even better if you check the nutritional facts provided on the dining hall website. Making a plan can help you make smarter eating decisions and avoid the temptation of eating mindlessly.
Tip 2: Go straight to the salad bar first. You will already have filled up a portion of your plate with these nutritious foods, limiting the amount of other foods you may want to get. Eating vegetable is beneficial to your health, as they provide lots of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. Some vegetables are also high in fiber, giving you the feeling of fullness sooner, while consuming smaller quantities. Some high fiber foods include kidney beans, chickpeas, peas, broccoli and whole wheat grains. If you don't like to eat vegetables by themselves, try to mix them up with other foods you like and maybe even create your own dish.
Tip 3: Get smaller portions. At an all-you-can-eat-buffet, it is difficult to resist the urge to eat everything you see. Try to get smaller portions of food you want. It is better to eat a little of everything instead of overeating. You may also want to fill your plate with less food during your first time around. Limiting the food you get will not only avoid overeating, but will also help you avoid waste. You are hitting two birds with one stone.
Tip 4: Begin your meal with a glass of water. It is recommended to drink 8 cups of water a day, but most people don't drink that amount. Starting your meal with a glass of water can also help you avoid overeating, as it has already filled your stomach with fluid.
Tip 5: Rethink your drink. There are a variety of soda and juices in the dining hall, loaded with lots of sugar. Cut down excess sugar intake by switching these sugary drinks to water or tea. If you have an urge to drink soda, dilute it by adding water and a lot of ice.
Tip 6: Eat with your friends. It's always better eating with a friend than eating alone. Chatting with a friend during a meal slows down the pace you are eating. It takes about 20 minutes before you feel full, so the slower you eat, the fewer calories you eat.
Tip 7: Make desserts special. There are different types of desserts available every day. Make it special by only eating it on Friday nights or on special occasions.
Following these tips will not only help you avoid the famous "Freshman 15," but it may also help you shed a few pounds.

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