Avoiding the Freshman 15

Kayla Slater, Columnist

Out of the start of a new semester emerges the concern of the “freshman 15” from new students. Some people enter college believing the freshman 15 is a myth, while others may not know how to prevent weight gain. In fact, about 70 percent of students gain weight throughout college, mostly during their first semester. The average weight gained for a student during their first semester is about 10 pounds or five percent of their body weight. The unlimited dining plan, changes in eating habits and a decrease in physical activity may contribute to weight gain, but there are ways you can prevent the Freshman 15.

Eating a well-balanced breakfast in the morning will help boost your energy, focus and concentration in class. Your morning meal will also prevent overeating later in the day. Don’t have time to go to the dining hall before class? Try natural peanut butter on a whole wheat English muffin or low-fat Greek yogurt with granola and berries.

Snacking frequently throughout the day can also help curb your appetite. Unfortunately, overeating is easy to do when you only eat two meals a day. Keep healthy snacks in your dorm and bring them with you. Some easy snacks to eat on-the-go are whole fruits, such as apples, oranges, grapes and bananas; the recommendation is three servings a day. You can also try dried fruits and nuts, granola bars, or hummus and veggies. Check out the Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays 10 a.m. -3 p.m. in the quad. During the month of September through October 8, you can pick up local fruits and veggies, which are great snacks to take with you.

Make sure to choose wisely at the dining hall. You may find the choices overwhelming and exciting, but the dining halls do offer healthy choices. Try the O’Healthy station at Hulbert (designed with athletes in mind), the omelets station at Wilsbach, which offers egg whites and veggies and vegan/vegetarian stir fry or enjoy a fresh salad at the salad stations. Make sure to choose a low fat dressing, such as low fat Italian, balsamic vinaigrette or red wine vinegar. Don’t forget MyKitchen in Mills where you can make your food the way you want it. Dessert is tempting, especially when our bakery does an excellent job, but don’t overdo it – a serving of ice cream is one cup, which equals about two scoops.

Lastly, whether you were an athlete before college or don’t enjoy working out, it is important to stay active. SUNY Oneonta offers many activities for students to keep active, even if you are not on a sports team. The college offers free access to the Alumni Field House and Chase gym – just complete the online registration. BeFit is a newly recognized club that offers strength training and group runs. Or join a club sport through our intramural program. Aerobics classes are also held in the Alumni Field House dance studio, so check out the schedule online. The key to staying active in college is motivation, so grab a friend and stay active!

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