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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
I have a niece and nephew who will move into their college dorm rooms next week. It
will be a new challenging time for them and for thousands of other incoming freshmen
as they try to find their way around a new campus, make new friends, attend new class
formats and experience new freedom. The transition from high school and living at
home to college life brings stress and poor eating habits. The combination of these
two things can lead to weight gain, or the dreaded “freshman 15.”
The “freshman 15” is said to be the average amount of weight gained during the freshman
year. Combine freedom from parents and meal plans where students are in control and
you have a recipe for disaster on your waistline; no wonder those jeans won’t fit.
There are general strategies you can use to develop healthy eating habits that can
last a lifetime.
Remember that Mom was right when she said to eat breakfast. Skipping meals can lead
to overeating later in the day. Choose healthy breakfast options such as an egg white
omelet filled with veggies or whole wheat toast or bagel with peanut butter and a
fruit cup instead of the calorie-laden cinnamon roll and crème cappuccino. Remember
that medium crème cappuccino can have 470 calories and 17 grams of fat. The lesson
here is to drink black coffee if you need a caffeine fix and save your calories for
nutrient dense foods.
These are top class recreation facilities that may have a rock climbing wall, lazy
river, weight room, cardio equipment and classes to get you moving. Most likely your
tuition covers use of this facility, so you might as well get your money’s worth.
Consider taking a fitness activity for academic credit. You’ll develop a new skill,
and the required attendance will help motivate you. Remember that exercise is a natural
Portion sizes and serving utensils are much larger at college, and if your cafeteria
has an all-you-can-eat plan, you can end up with much more food on your plate than
you are used to getting at home. Take small amounts and only go back for seconds if
you are truly still hungry. Remember the 20-minute rule; it takes 20 minutes for your
stomach to signal your brain that it is full and it’s time to stop eating.
Focus on filling your plate with vegetables and fruits. Choose vegetables that are
grilled and steamed, not fried. Chose vegetables that are dark and leafy; these will
contain nutrients to keep your body running. Sorry, but although cherry pie is made
from fruit, it shouldn’t be chosen as your fruit of the day. As a general rule, one-half
of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, one-quarter should be carbohydrates
or starch, preferably whole grain, and the last quarter should be protein.
Know if you are eating for comfort and watch for unhealthy choices that can be detrimental
to your health. Comfort foods tend to be loaded with sugar, fats or both. Keep a snack
basket filled with things such as whole grain crackers or cups of fruit packed in
its own juices. These will be a much better choice than calling the pizzeria for your
Enjoy your freshman year of college; it’s a wonderful time to learn new things both
academically and personally. Just don’t forget to take care of yourself. Your body
and brain need the right nutrients and vitamins to function properly. Choosing the
right foods will affect your energy, concentration, memory and waistline!
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at email@example.com,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or
on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
follow Miller Co. FCS on Facebook
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.