A good nutrition plan can help students avoid that dreaded "freshman 10." College is a great time to reinforce or develop healthy habits.
Here are 15 tips to avoid those 10 pounds:
Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- When choosing food, stick to the basics. Limit fried foods; alternate regular menu items with a vegetarian menu; include a food from each of the food groups; include a tossed salad with light dressing; opt for frozen yogurt, fresh fruit or another light dessert; drink water with your meals.
- Choose healthy snacks. Eat meals or snacks every three to four hours, or more frequently if you feel hungry. Your brain needs adequate glucose stores for brain and body function.
- Eat right, even late-night.
Eat nourishing late-night snacks, such as peanut butter and fruit spread on whole-wheat crackers, popcorn, water-packed tuna, fresh or canned fruit, or granola bars.
- Experience new foods and flavors.
Expand your palette by trying new regional or ethnic foods.
- Minimize fast food and take-out.
- Enjoy meals with friends.
Need more social time? Mealtime companionship can offer social interaction and relaxation.
- Minimize or eliminate the use of alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol has no nutritional value, adversely affects brain cell function, and impedes the body's ability to maintain motor coordination, physical stamina, and healthy weight. Tobacco limits your body's capacity for exercise, your stamina, and inhibits your immune system.
- Take time to relax. Find ways to break up your daily routine, such as leisure reading, quiet reflection, aerobic exercise, off-campus activities, or community involvement.
- Get involved.
Take advantage of campus activities, local arts, and regional offerings.
- Limit or avoid "study munching." Don't let snacking while studying or paper writing turn into nonstop munching. When you feel hungry, consider taking a brief, healthy snack break.
- Try to maintain a balanced schedule.
Do your best to balance your class schedule, extracurricular activities, social life, and free time. Talk with a faculty friend, advisor, or student health counselor if scheduling becomes routinely stressful.
- Recognize your nutrition "weak points." Learn to manage your food cravings when you are bored, anxious, stressed, or tired. Consider keeping a personal food journal.
- Remember: Health professionals are here to help.
Seek professional assistance from our on-campus nutritionist or Health Center staff if personal or emotional issues consume your time and interfere with healthy living.
- Stay connected with your family.