The Freshman 15 is a humorous term used to describe the weight gain many students face their first year at college. If you want to avoid packing on pounds, eat healthy, exercise, and find healthy ways to destress. In this article, you will find tips on forming good eating habits once you leave home.
The Government of Canada has a Food Guide that gives plenty of advice and recipes for staying healthy. In 2019, the government changed its strategy by simplifying the food groups. Meat and dairy have been combined, and Canadians are encouraged to eat more vegetables and less meat and dairy. Additionally, government literature produced after thorough research and scientific evidence, continues to emphasize the importance of drinking plenty of water and healthy fluids to stay hydrated.
Tips for Healthy Eating at College
It’s all about moderation. Based on the key food groups, you can build a diet plan that maximizes healthy eating at school. The following suggestions lay the basis for a balanced diet.
• Dairy: Dairy and dairy substitutes help you build a strong skeletal structure. Try limiting daily intake to three servings of low-fat options, including cheese, milk, and yogurt. Look for non-dairy alternatives for your everages, like oat milk, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and so on.
• Carbohydrates: You need carbohydrates to provide energy to your muscles and brain. Limit your intake to carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta and rice, corn, sweet potatoes, and other starchy vegetables. These should make up 25% of each meal.
• Fats: Fats help you feel full and absorb more vitamins. Olive oil, nuts, avocado, and seeds are great sources of healthy fat.
• Fruits & Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are packed with minerals and vitamins that produce healthy skin, hair, nails, and boost your immune system. Eat 5 servings of vegetables and fruits throughout the day. Consider categorizing by colour to build diversity. For example, you can eat carrots, apples, leafy greens, bananas, and eggplant.
• Proteins: Protein includes beans, eggs, peanut or almond butter, fish, chicken, and dairy products, and you need it for healthy muscles and essential body functions.
Be Choosy in Dining Halls, Food Courts and Restaurants
Dining halls and food courts make it easy to get whatever food you’re craving. However, it’s up to you to find and stick to healthy options. Many university dining halls and restaurants post nutrition information on the menus or online. Browse through this information before you choose your meal. That way, you know that you can get healthy food you love. This helps eliminate impulse eating based on cravings alone.
Follow the guidelines below for additional smart eating tips:
• Eat more kinds of food but less of it. All-you-can-eat dining makes it easy to overeat. Enjoy the smorgasbord by taking smaller amounts of each food. Pro tip: Some students find that using small plates helps them moderate their intake.
• The majority of grains should include whole grains. Whether you eat cereal every morning or would love to pitch a tent next to the sandwich station, eating whole-grain options, such as 100% whole-grain bread, leads to a healthier diet.
• Re-think what you drink. Sugary drinks such as cappuccinos, fruit juices, and canned soda add hundreds of calories to your daily diet. Diet drinks may reduce calories but have other negative impacts. Whenever possible, choose water as your primary beverage. Herbal teas without sugar are great, too.
• Load your plate with fruits and vegetables. You can have moderate amounts of sandwiches, eggs, pizza, and other starchy carbs, but moderate these choices with fruits and vegetables in a variety of colours. Find creative ways to introduce veggies into your diet. For example, use fewer eggs and throw in veggies from the salad bar when you get to the omelet station.
Have fun finding new ways to eat healthy at college. You can limit desserts to a special treat and cut back on sauces to reduce your calorie count. Dine and dash — the longer you stay in the dining hall, the more you will eat. When you finish your meal, leave the hall, and go for a walk around campus before your next class.
Practice Moderation Not Deprivation
If your friends like to order wings and pizza, you don’t have to deny yourself. Take half a slice of pizza or a couple of wings, just don’t eat the whole pie or basket of wings. Love fries! Choose sweet potato instead of regular fries and skip the poutine and cheese! Keep healthy snack options such as fruit or whole grain energy bars in your dorm or student apartment to avoid unhealthy food cravings.
With a little effort, you can get into healthy eating habits at school. If you want to surprise your parents, bring home better grades, not extra weight!