College is pretty fantastic. You’re on your own for the first time – new friends, potentially a whole new city, no curfew, no one to really make any personal rules for you – you can do whatever you want (within reason) without being under that parental iron thumb. However, such freedom doesn’t come without drawbacks – cooking all of your own meals, remembering to do your laundry without a gentle motherly reminder, grocery shopping for yourself…not easy skills to keep up with while trying not to drown under that mountain of schoolwork.
For me, that freedom included going crazy with food. I didn’t have a convenient kitchen in my dorm room, so I mostly ate out or at the cafeteria, which didn’t offer the greatest options. To my delight, there was a Dairy Queen within two miles of campus, a Chick-fil-a within five, and a much-loved local ice cream place within WALKING DISTANCE. As you can imagine, I didn’t stand a chance. So, even though I was on the school’s tennis team, working out about five days a week, I still gained weight. I guess I couldn’t quite force my mind to accept the fact that I couldn’t eat ice cream four days a week without feeling the consequences. However, when I got home for the summer, I knew I had to get real. So I talked to my aunt (who is a registered dietitian) and we came up with a few things that I could do to change my college eating habits. These tips are pretty easy and I never felt like I was depriving myself, plus I learned how to cook a little bit – not too shabby, right? 🙂
5 TIPS TO FIGHT THE FRESHMAN FIFTEEN
(1) Hydrate. This seems pretty standard, but water consumption is very important. If you’re a soda drinker, try to replace at least one soda a day with a glass of water. If you’re a very quick eater (like me) and eat so quickly you don’t even realize how full you are until you’ve consumed half your pantry, it helps to drink a full glass of water before every meal. It’ll make you feel more full and cut your calorie intake.
(2) Participate in some form of exercise 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. This could be a walk, jogging, skateboarding, roller skating, basketball, you name it – just get out there. Bonus: it’ll clear your head, and make studying seem like less a chore, too. Also, it’s totally acceptable to do jumping jacks, high knees, ab workouts, wall sits, burpees etc in the dorm room when snowed in/feeling lazy. I’ve done it. Try for 25 each of the high intensity stuff like crunches and mountain climbers three times in a row, then a 30 second wall sit. You’ll be knackered.
(3) SLEEP. GUYS. YOU GOTTA SLEEP. I know I sound like a parent and that it’s way more interesting to stay up watching Netflix with your people, because I 110% still do this and I’m in grad school with a full time job and apparently like to make life harder on myself, but eight hours is basically necessary. If you start slacking for more than a few nights in a row, you’re gonna start feeling it – and you’re probably going to find yourself reaching for that pick-me-up chocolate bar a few more times than you would had you gotten a solid night’s sleep. Plus, your metabolism will be sleepy, too – meaning you won’t be able to burn OFF those chocolate bars without a little extra exercise. Sleep is important.
(4) Treat yo’self. Just do it in moderation. If you deprive yourself totally, you’ll break down and eat half a cake by yourself because you’ll probably have a bad day, get fed up, and need cake in your face right that second. It’s okay to have dessert – just don’t do it after every meal. Also, those random Oreos snagged throughout the day add up.
(5) Learn to cook for yourself 🙂 It’s fun, I promise. And, as this amazing website shows, it’s totally possible to make easy, healthy things in a microwave. I wish I had had THAT list when I was a freshman in college…
And now, to wrap things up, I’ve included a little recipe of my own.
Avocado Toast + Over-Hard Egg, inspired by the wonderful brunch restaurant First Watch. There’s one in downtown Clayton, literally five minutes from campus. Do yourself a favor and check them out!!
What you need:
1 piece of whole grain or 100% whole wheat bread
1 ripe avocado
handful shredded cheese of your choice
garlic (for seasoning) or garlic powder
For the egg:
1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. I usually just eyeball the amount of olive oil.
2. Crack egg and carefully let it slide into the pan. You can crack it into a bowl in case you’re afraid of shell shards, then pour it into the pan from there. The key is to NOT SHOW THE EGG YOUR FEAR.
3. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle a smidge of minced garlic or garlic powder onto the egg as it cooks, along with the handful of shredded cheese.
4. Cook for about 5 minutes, until whites have solidified and yolks have started to thicken.
5. Flip egg with a spatula and cook for another minute or so. It’s really up to your personal preference how fried you want your egg to be – I like my yolks completely solid, like a boiled egg, but some people prefer them runnier.
For the avocado toast:
1. Cut avocado in half. You can save the other half for a later meal 🙂
2. Toast bread to your preferred level of crispy.
3. Spread half of the avocado onto the toast. Season with lemon juice and/or garlic powder if you like and enjoy 🙂
You can eat them separately, or throw that egg on top of the toast and go to flavortown. Here’s the beautiful final product:
I hope you guys enjoy these tips. The Freshman Fifteen can fight, but it won’t win. You got this!
Keep moving forward.