The fabled Freshman 15: often more reality than fable. Everybody knows to “eat healthy”, sleep enough and exercise—but sometimes that’s not enough when you’re dietary options are often confined to the dining hall. Even if you move off campus as an upperclassman, school still makes it difficult to eat well. Here’s some items and resources that can help you—and your waistline—fight the noble fight.
- BMI Calculator: Know where you’re at before you start trying to jettison weight. With a quick input of data (height, weight) a BMI calculator will help make sure you’re staying true to healthy proportions however epic life may get
- Multi-Vitamin: When the body’s nutritional cravings are met in the form of essential vitamins and minerals, the body doesn’t need to hoot and holler for food as much; thus, you’ll eat less. Everywhere from the local pharmacy to Trader Joes sells vita-gummies —which are actually pretty yummy! Other options include Rainbow Light’s Women’s One-a-Day (also made for men). What’s super sweet about these guys is that you just take them ONCE. You may find cheaper versions out there; but when it boils down to it, you have to take 2-4 capsules a day to get the daily value. Economically, it usually doesn’t work to your favor. For those that can’t throw a tablet or capsule down the hatch, there’s
always over-indulging on Flintstones Vitamins.
- Healthy Care-Packages: Parents, Grandparents, et al. enjoy sending their beloved college student care packages. Lay down the law, kiddos, and request something of the healthier variety. Instead of baskets fraught with chocolates, preservative packed chips and snacks and other sugary samplings, place a polite request for a fruit basket. Harry and David offers exquisitely tasty baskets of seasonal, fresh fruit—and if it arrives less than perfect, they’ll fully refund it! Also, check out Fruit Flowers for some flowery (but edible) creations.
- Healthy Late Night, Microwave Cuisine: Instead of Ramen Noodles (whose less than nutritious nutrition facts can be found here), consider soups like Dr. McGougals. Another brand to try is Amy’s Organics; she has a plethora of frozen options too that are tasty without being totally detrimental to your health.
- Calorie Calculator: Want to know just how many calories you should be in taking in? Check out this calorie calculator which tabulates your personal information to determine what your ideal caloric intake is considering your weight goals.
- Restaurant Nutrition App: What college student doesn’t like to sneak out the dining hall from time to time and enjoy a restaurant? Check out this app for the iPhone, Restaurant Nutrition. Free, this little gem gives you the true, caloric breakdown of all the foods at the top 20 fast-food joints. If you prefer to live in ignorance, we can’t say we blame you—but consider yourself warned.
- Pedometer: Of course you should exercise regularly a few times a week…but to stave off the Freshman 15 and just stay fit in general you need to not only exercise but incorporate more movement into your waking life. If you take the elevator to the second floor (instead of bopping up the stairs) or if you’re prone to take a shuttle around campus when you could walk from quad to quad—perhaps you should get a pedometer. Shooting for around 10,000 steps a day and knowing that the little thing is tabulating your every step may encourage you to walk more. Many say 10,000 steps is a bit much and a lot depends on your gait, but a pedometer will tell you how many miles a day you walk and you can than set goals for yourself to ensure you are moving enough.
- Protein Powder: Getting enough protein can be tough when the dining hall meat is tougher than your physics final; and if you’re not filling up on protein, you’re likely making up for it with starch and fat which only migrates to one’s love handles. Fight back with a protein powder. Quite versatile, powders (whether whey, soy or other) can be mixed into smoothies, sprinkled over oatmeal or cereal or combined in countless other easy, quick recipes. Depending on your preference and needs, there’s a lot to choose from—here’s a broad overview of popular choices with Aria being the top choice for many women.
- Steamer: Steaming is way healthier than frying or baking—it’s also super easy and with the right accoutrements rather tasty. Steaming preserves more of the vegetables’ nutrients compared to boiling. With a steamer, simply place it inside the sauce pan and add enough water to just reach the surface level of the steamer’s bottom. Another healthy investment is a rice-cooker which can double as a steamer.
- Water: Studies have shown that a lot of people mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking water not only hydrates you, balances you body, moisturizes your organs and tissues, but it also helps you feel satiated. Carry around a water bottle with you—say a Klean Kanteen. Also, be careful of what you drink: those coffee orders that take a few breaths to spout out are not so good for your waistline. Consider tea if you need some caffeine—even with sugar or honey, chances are you won’t load it up with nearly as many calories as you would coffee.