Avoid the Freshman 15: Tips to Prevent College Weight Gain

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Hi Hungry Girl,

I'm getting ready to start my first year of college, and I'm terrified I'll gain the "freshman 15." Please help!

Dorm-Bound Dana

How to Avoid the Freshman 15Hi Dana,

Congrats on heading off to college! I understand your nerves -- between the questionable cafeteria food, the abundance of vending machines, and the snack-fueled study sessions, weight gain can seem inevitable. But it's 100 percent possible to enjoy college life without putting on the pounds. You just need to arm yourself with the right survival strategies. Here's a cheat sheet to get you started!

Master the Dining Hall - At breakfast, slide your tray right past the sugary pastries and jumbo bagels with their slabs of cream cheese; look for high-fiber cereal (with fat-free milk or light soymilk), fresh fruit, light yogurt, oatmeal packets, and hard-boiled egg whites. At lunch and dinner, head for lean protein, like grilled chicken breast. If there's a salad bar, make a beeline, but build your plate carefully -- click for tips! As for sandwiches, go with turkey slices, lots of veggies, and mustard instead of mayo. Instead of doughy rolls or giant tortillas, choose slices of wheat bread... Or nix the carbs altogether, and have your sandwich goodies over shredded lettuce! When it comes to afternoon and evening sides, a piece of fruit, a small bag of baked chips, or a serving of veggies is the way to go. Those greasy fries are so not worth it...

Stock Up on Smart Snacks - Keep a stash of shelf-stable foods that have solid amounts of protein and/or fiber. Go for healthy snack bars (like Larabars, KIND bars, and Quest Bars), whole fruit (Fuji apples are my favorite), tuna pouches (I love StarKist) and jerky (click for picks). Have a mini fridge? Pack it with light/fat-free yogurt (especially Greek), cut veggies (and a jar of salsa), and turkey slices (an unexpected yet amazing snack!). And to resist the call of the vending-machine candy bars, keep low-calorie sweets (like lollipops and Fiber One's 90 Calorie dessert swaps) and crunchy craving busters (like Popchips) on hand. Pssst... Ask your parents to send some of these snacks in a care package!

Stay Hydrated, and Sip Sensibly - Drink lots of water so you don't confuse thirst with hunger, which is super common. Get a refillable bottle, and tote it with you everywhere. And stay away from regular soda, sneaky smoothies (they're often loaded with calories), and full-sugar energy drinks. Those calories can really add up! Need help getting in those eight cups of water each day? I've got tons of tips right here. And for those readers who are of the legal drinking age, you need to scope out this Happy Hour Survival Guide.

Follow "Hungry Girl U" on Instagram - That's right... There's an HG Instagram page exclusively for college students! Here you'll get the 411 on new food finds, easy dorm recipes, quick snacks, and more! The content here is completely tailored to college-aged HG fans... A MUST for any coed who wants to avoid gaining weight at school. So follow it now, and tell your friends! So much good stuff! (Any parents out there? Tell your kids about this STAT!)

Check out HG's Back-to-School Survival Guide! (College Edition) - Today's Q&A is like the CliffsNotes... This must-read guide is PACKED with advice for any and every eating situation you might encounter on campus. Bookmark it, STAT. You'll want to reference it often!

Have fun at school, and chew the right thing!

Pass along this info to any college-bound buddies -- click "Send to a Friend" now!


Today, August 26th, is National Cherry Popsicle Day. We’ll do you one better... How about a seasonal Outshine Black Cherry Fruit Bar for just 60 calories?

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