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How to avoid the freshman 15

By By Amy Brantley, Contributing writer
Published On: Jul 23 2011 08:43:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 19 2013 09:28:37 AM CDT
weight, work out, apple

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Every high school student has heard about the "freshman 15" -- the 15 extra pounds that college freshman typically gain during their first year of college.

This is hardly surprising considering that college can be quite a life altering experience. For the first time, you have the chance to make your own choices. If those choices aren't healthy ones, you may find your pants getting a little tighter and the number on the scales beginning to rise. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid the freshman 15.

Eat A Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast keeps you full and focused. More importantly, it can help you avoid weight gain. According to LifeBalance.com.au, eating breakfast each morning can increase your metabolic rate, which can help you better burn calories throughout the day.

Always Carry Healthy Snacks

Hunger pains can creep up on you, especially when your nose is buried in a book for hours. Instead of rushing to the nearest snack machine, reach into your backpack for a healthy snack. High fiber and high protein snacks are great options because they keep you full and help keep you alert. According to WebMD.com, females between the ages 19-50 should have 25 grams of fiber per day, while males of the same age should have 38 grams. Snacks are a wonderful way to meet your daily fiber requirements.

Exercise Between Classes

You may only have 15-30 minutes between classes, but that is just enough time to work out. You can get a quick workout on the stairs, walk instead of driving to your next class, or even head to the campus gym. According to HealthStatus.com, 15 minutes of walking up stairs can burn 115 calories from someone who weighs 125 pounds. If you do this in between all your classes, you could burn quite a few calories.

Learn About Living Healthier

Whether you do your research online, hit the library, or take a personal enrichment course, it's important to learn about being healthy. It can be a lot of information to take in, and by no means should you try to learn everything at once. Instead, start out learning about the food pyramid. Yes, this is something you learned about in elementary school, but most people have forgotten the basics. Next, take a yoga class or any other health enrichment course that appeals to you. According to the MayoClinic.com, yoga can actually reduce stress, which is excellent for college students.

Cook Your Own Meals

College cafeterias aren't known for their nutritious meals. A quick calculation of a typical college cafeteria meal including a cheeseburger, French fries and soda on sp.uconn.edu shows that this meal has over 1,000 calories and 48 grams of fat. Even if you live in a dorm room and only have a microwave, it's possible to make healthier meals yourself. Buy an easy recipe book or keep things simple by preparing salads. Either way, staying away from the cafeteria is a great way to avoid the freshman 15.

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