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Are you terrified of gaining the Freshman Fifteen? Or maybe you already have. Either way, how to eat well is one of the biggest dilemmas facing college kids today. I feel your pain. I went through it myself. Four years of being bombarded with Dominos delivery coupons, a late-night snack and smoothie bar, and a never-ending buffet style dining hall can take a serious toll on your weight. But it doesn’t have to. Knowing how to make smart choices in regards to food during your college years can save your body a lot of stress.

So what are healthy, in-shape college kids doing to keep the Freshman 15 away for good? I’ve compiled some basic eating and exercise tips:

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1. Get to love the salad bar in your dining hall or student union. Chances are, your college or university has really tried to make this staple feature more attractive over the past 5-10 years. Avoid loading your salad up with too many croutons or too much salad dressing. Best to try lite Italian or Ranch, or just good old oil and vinegar.

2. Try to limit your trips to the fast food and pizza stops in your student union. Consuming too many fatty, greasy foods will make you feel sluggish… aren’t you in college to learn after all?

3. Try to limit late-night snacking on cheesy nachos and curly fries! I know it doesn’t sound nearly as fun, but try eating baby carrots with some salad dressing or hummus, or if you detest eating veggies late at night, try snacking on nuts either by themselves or in a trail mix with some raisins and chocolate chips. You’ll save yourself a lot of empty calories.

4. And finally, regular EXERCISE is a HUGE component to warding off excess weight during college. This is so important! If you just can’t find time to go to your campus fitness center, there are other things you can do to give your physique a boost. Try to walk to and from class as much as possible. Take the stairs instead of the elevator (unless your room is on the 22nd floor or something like that). Go out for a 20 minute jog on a nice day. If you’re really ambitious, purchase a set of dumbbells to lift while you’re watching TV in your room. It’s really that easy!

I realize that being away from home coupled with a new intense academic workload is stressful. At some points, you’ll turn to food for comfort. This is totally normal. Just try to be more conscious of what you are putting into your body. Trust me! You can do it!

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