Avoiding the Freshman 15 at the Dorms
I remember freshman year, walking into the HC cafeteria for my first time, and I was pretty amazed. Everything you could possibly want was all conveniently laid out around the cafeteria- pizzas, a sandwich bar, hamburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, cheeseburgers, a choose-your-own-ingredients stir fry, French fries, desserts, a salad bar, and cereal. I knew about the infamous “Freshman 15”, or the 15 pounds that freshmen are notorious for gaining their first year in college, and told myself it definitely would not happen to me. I had danced my whole life and maintained healthy eating habits, so I wasn’t worried at all. However, after eating regularly at the HC and not keeping up with working out- I gained around 15 pounds by the end of my freshman year (which, I might add, melted off within a month of moving out of the dorms and going back to meals that I cooked and knew the nutritional facts of). Here is my biggest advice I have for all you freshman that live at the dorms and have meal plans at the HC, so you can beat the odds of falling into the Freshman 15 trap.
Your Meal Plan:
The less temptation you have to go to the HC, the better! Going with a smaller meal plan restricts the amount of times you can swipe in per week, and when you do swipe in, you will be more inclined to eat an actual nutritious meal- instead of just grabbing a cookie and ice cream (I noticed a lot of freshmen my year that had extra meals for that week, so they would swipe in to use them and end up eating only desserts or pizza- not a smart eating choice). I would recommend going with the 18 per week meal plan (or even less if you can), depending on how often you plan on eating at the HC. Don’t feel pressured to use every single meal for the week (read: don’t swipe in at the HC just because you can), and if you find yourself having a few meals left over at the end of each week, consider lowering your meal plan, which will save money as well (helloooooo, shopping spree). A good rule of thumb is to swipe in at the HC as little as possible, and the rest of the time, eat food that you prepare yourself (Pinterest has some great pins that are all about making healthy food in the dorms!).
Meals at the HC:
I would advise skipping breakfast at the HC. Eating eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, muffins, and donuts every morning will add up quickly in calories, fat, and sugar; not to mention giving you a sluggish start to the day. Instead, stock up on food you can make in your dorm room, such as oatmeal, bananas, strawberries, peaches, apples, peanut butter, a protein bar and healthy cereal.
Some of the healthiest options at the HC are the salad bar (obviously), the stir-fry counter (make sure you load it up with vegetables!), and the main Entrée of the day. A great tool to see the nutrition information of what you are eating is to go to: www.dineoncampus.com/utah/show.cfm?cmd=menus2
This brings up a weekly menu of what is being served at the HC- complete with the nutrition information for each meal. This is an AWESOME tool (Like, seriously. Please use it) that you can use at the beginning of the week, or right before you head to the HC for dinner, that lets you to learn EVERYTHING about what they are serving for the day. This includes everything from the serving size (IT MATTERS) to the number of calories, grams of fiber, protein, carbs, sugar, fat, etc. So instead of just reaching for whatever looks yummiest for the day you can actually make smart food choices and know exactly what is going into your body, even at the HC. That website also has links to a BMI calculator- you can put in your weight and height and it tells you the exact amounts of fat, protein, carbs, and calories that you should be eating every day. Use the BMI Calculator along with the HC nutrition info menu and I promise, you will maintain a healthy weight for your body type all year.
The Freshman 15 doesn’t have to be an inevitable curse upon freshmen- with a little preparation and smart food choices, anyone can avoid weight gain their freshman year (which you will thank me for when you go back home for winter break and haven’t gained a pound).