R.D. Laura Coxson shares her top 5 rules to avoid the famous freshman 15

R.D. Laura Coxson shares her top 5 rules to avoid the famous freshman 15


Let’s face it, when school starts, the last thing on your mind is eating healthy and working out. Between late-night study sessions, classes, internships—not to mention sorority meetings and events—it’s not easy avoiding the freshman 15. Here are the rules to eating healthy when you hit the books this semester:

Never skip meals. One of the worst eating patterns to get into is skipping meals and letting yourself get to the point where you’re ravenous. “Once you’re starving, the last thing you crave is salad or fish,” explains Laura. One of the best ways to avoid weight-gain is to eat smaller, mini-meals throughout the day. When you eat smaller meals (think 300 calories each), your blood sugar levels stay even throughout the day, resulting in fewer cravings for junk food. After all, it’s much easier to steer yourself towards the salad line when you’re not starving.
TIP At a restaurant? Laura advises to share your meal or take ½ home to avoid over eating. Restaurant portions average at 800 to 1,000 calories per meal!

Relax at meal time. Eating during class or on-the-go is one of the worst ways to pack on the pounds because you’re not paying to attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. “Learning to remove yourself from the working environment at meal times”, explains Laura, “will help you relax, eat slower, and make you focus on chewing and proper digestion.” People tend to overeat when they’re stressed and anxious.
TIP Pack a nutritious lunch and head to your favourite spot on campus so you can enjoy your meal in a relaxed setting with friends. You’ll be much less likely to scarf down unhealthy food.

Keep a food journal. Your college dining hall probably isn’t brimming with the best food choices. That’s when a food journal comes in handy. Write down everything you eat at the end of the day and you’ll begin to realize your eating patterns—good and bad. “People don’t realize that a bite here and there add up,” explains Laura. A food journal will prevent that by showing you exactly what you’re eating and more importantly—when.
TIP At the end of every week review your food journal and see what areas you can improve on. Get started with our free online diet diary!

Avoid midnight munchies. Late-night dining is one of the top contributor’s to the freshman 15. If you have to eat past 9 p.m., make it something light and healthy. Laura explains her most important rule regarding eating for students. “No late-night pizza orders for those study sessions”. Not only does it pack on the pounds, it provides few nutrients to help fuel your body and mind.
TIP Instead of pizza, toast a slice of wholegrain bread, top with a tablespoon of tomato sauce and a slice of low-fat mozzarella and voila—you’ve got a healthy late-night snack.

Avoid vending machines. It’s all too easy to hit the vending machine—especially when you’re hungry and have no time to eat a meal. But this will easily trigger weight-gain if it becomes a daily habit. To avoid the vending machines, always keep healthy snacks in your bag. Not only will you save on calories, you’ll save your pennies as well.
TIP Create your own favourite trail mix and keep a jar in your door room. Scoop some in a baggy before you head to class and you’ll have something to munch on during those stretches of back-to-back classes.

Limit caffeine. Nutritionists recommend no more then one cup of coffee or tea a day. Laura points out “caffeine is a stimulant that can actually cause your hunger to increase”. So if a day isn’t a day without Starbucks, order a small and consider it your treat for the day.
TIP A good substitute for coffee is green tea. Not only is it lower in caffeine—but it’s full of anti-oxidants (you know, the stuff that keeps you looking and feeling young!).

Emma Lyle


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