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How to avoid the 'Freshman 15'

Teens

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Ahh, college—the good old days when we had no shame chowing down at 3 a.m. on luke-warm, greasy pizza. 

It sounds like a good idea at first, but you always pay for it in the morning—and later on when you have to buy bigger clothes. Many college kids put on weight by drinking and eating in excess, but you can still live your life without packing on the pounds. 

Here’s how:

Eat your morning meal
Don’t fall into the habit of skipping breakfast. If you eat breakfast, you’re less likely to overeat at your next meal, and you’ll have good brain fuel for your a.m. classes. If you don’t have access to a kitchen, keep a box of whole grain cereal in your room with some skim milk in the mini-fridge, or some whole wheat bread and a jar of peanut butter.

Be picky at the cafeteria
Dodge the chicken fingers and French fry line and head straight to the salad bar. Combine lettuce, mixed vegetables, and lean proteins, such as egg whites, beans, grilled chicken, or turkey and go light on the dressing (creamy dressings can add hundreds of calories). 

Not into salad? Aim for foods that are grilled, baked, broiled or steamed, and always try to get veggies in at least one to two times per day. To prevent food boredom, switch it up daily. Get a sandwich on whole wheat filled with lean protein; hold the mayo and use mustard instead. Or, have breakfast for dinner on occasion. Try hard boiled eggs and sliced tomato on toast with a glass of skim milk (you need your calcium!) or cereal with fruit and yogurt—the same old salads and “mystery meat” can get repetitive.

Disguise late night feasts
While eating late doesn’t necessarily make you gain weight, if you eat normally throughout the day then order pizza or buffalo wings, those extra calories will pack on pounds. If you want to hang out with the late night crew but not feel left out, pop some popcorn or grab a handful of mixed nuts. Remember that portion control is key for all foods. Even if your friends make fun of you, trust me, they’ll be following suit shortly.

 

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a nationally known registered dietitian based in New York and the creator of a proprietary high-fiber nutrition program for weight loss, wellness and for treating various medical conditions. Tanya authored the bestselling weight loss book The F-Factor Diet, and she is the first dietitian with a national line of high-fiber foods, which are sold under the F-Factor name. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.