College freshman are notorious for gaining a significant amount of weight before returning home for summer break. Although it has been disproven that they actually gain fifteen pounds on average, research is showing that 70% of college students gain some weight over the course of their four years at school. College students are particularly vulnerable to weight gain during their freshman year because they are often faced with the responsibility to make healthy decisions on their own for the first time.
Since several habits are formed during the transition from adolescence to adulthood, making poor decisions in college can have lasting, problematic effects on your behavior and health. Luckily, there are plenty of helpful ways to stay healthy and maintain your weight while you are away at school!
Find Healthy Options on Campus
While you may not have access to the same home-cooked, healthy meals at college that you do at home, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible to eat healthy. During your first week of school, give yourself a tour of all the dining areas and scope out the options (you might even be able to do this beforehand if your school’s menu is online). See where you can find opportunities to nourish yourself with fresh fruits, lots of greens, lean protein, good fats, and fiber. Once you figure out which foods work for you, you can get into the habit of making healthy choices at every meal. You can even get a baby size air fryer and a toaster oven to whip up easy meals in the dorm room.
A huge mistake that many students make when they get to college is to stop exercising. It is important that you develop a habit of working out regularly, whether at your school’s gym, at fitness classes near campus (Classpass can be a great resource), or even on a club sports team. You can even follow one of Melissa Wood’s Workouts in the comfort of your own room. Another way to stay active is by walking across campus—if your classes and the library are very close by, try studying somewhere new that allows you to get some movement in. This can make a huge difference when it comes to being healthy and preventing weight gain!
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Avoiding sugary drinks in college is key! Drinking alcohol in general can get tricky, as it piles on calories very easily. That is why it is important to not only limit your intake to just a few drinks a week, but also pay attention to what is in them. Just one standard 8-oz margarita is 455 calories, and sweet mixers can have tons of sugar in them. If you want to drink while feeling your best and maintaining your weight, opt for a light mixer like LaCroix or Bai, or make Nedi Martinis in your dorm for you and your friends to enjoy.
Keep Healthy Snacks in Your Dorm
One of the biggest culprits of weight gain is snacking on junk food, especially if it is available to you in your dorm room. As soon as you move in, find the nearest store (or go to my Amazon shop page for Nedi approved snacks) and make sure you stock your room with healthy snacks. This way, when you get hungry between meals, you will be prepared to nourish yourself with something satisfying and low-carb. See Healthy Snack Swaps for some of my favorites! If you need to bring a snack to class, I suggest packing a Raw Rev protein bar. They are vegan, high in fiber & protein, low in sugar & net carbs! Use my code NEDA to get 20% off your order@
Avoid Studying Late at Night
Studying late at night simply leads to more eating. If you stay up later, you get hungry again! Plus, the studying will drain more of your energy and cause you to crave more high-carb, high-sugar foods. Make sure you plan ahead and get your work done during the day or by a certain time at night before your energy runs out. Fuel your brain throughout the day with high-protein, high-fiber foods, as well as those that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Some examples of this are berries, walnuts, avocado, salmon, and flaxseed.