College can be an overwhelming experience for new students when you factor in meeting new friends taking a heavy course load and learning how to manage life away from home.

But adjusting to college life can be much easier when you make your health a priority to prevent sickness, fatigue, and the “Freshman 15” weight gain.

Plan Ahead to Beat the Freshman 15

One of the most common health issues that most college students struggle with is the dreaded Freshman 15 – the inevitable 15 pounds that most students expect to gain when adjusting to the college lifestyle.

Much of this weight gain is due to the fact that students are normally on a meal plan and have a difficult time making healthy choices. This becomes even harder if you weren’t taught healthy eating habits at home and are accustomed to eating junk food.

To fuel your brain and keep energy levels high all day long, keep healthy snacks on hand. You’re more likely to choose unhealthy meal options if it’s been hours since your last meal. Eating healthy snacks throughout the day will keep hunger at bay and will make it easier for you to focus on your classes. Win-win!

When it comes to your meal plan, choose fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains as a top priority. This doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in pizza, chips, and cookies from time to time, but don’t make processed foods the central focus of every meal.

To avoid overeating at meal time, load your plate with a majority of fruits and vegetables. Instead of a meal consisting mainly of protein, like a hamburger, several pieces of grilled chicken, or a steak, make three quarters of your meal fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with one quarter lean protein. This is an easy way to keep your portion sizes in check to maintain a healthy weight.

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