You tried, really. But it’s three in the morning, dinner with your PA group in Elder dining hall was seven hours ago, and definitely not filling enough. You have no food in your room, and there are precisely zero restaurants open - except Burger King. If your Wildcat Welcome was full of late-night pizza orders, Six Flags funnel cake, and trips to Burger King to find something worth eating, you are not alone. But if you’re interested in avoiding the Freshman Fifteen, it might be time to consider some different lifestyle choices. Here are some simple tips to get you back on track.
1. Focus on vegetables (and fruits!).
The minute you get to the dining hall, make leafy greens a priority. Create a salad with some of your favorite vegetables, but go easy on the dressing and croutons. Not a fan of Romaine or spinach? Check out the vegetarian section for a new vegetable to try, or simply grab some carrots and hummus. Fruit is another great add to your plate…but we all know how battered and mealy the produce can get in the cafeteria. Consider grabbing some peaches, mangoes, or berries from the local Trader Joe’s.
2. Consider the quality.
Many Americans have no idea what they are eating when it comes to nutritional value. Luckily, apps like myfitnesspal, can help you out. With daily food and activity logs, you can see how may calories and nutrients you are consuming every day. Not excited about logging every day? You can still improve your habits by considering the nutritional value and portion size of the food you pick out. WebMD can help you out.
3. Find your routine.
Maybe sports aren’t your thing. That’s just fine, but be sure to explore different physical activities to find one that you enjoy. Look for Northwestern Recreation’s Group Exercise class schedule and try attending a yoga, spin or cardio class. Bring out your hip dance moves in a Zumba or WERQ class! Alternatively, get involved in intramural sports, or go to the gym with friends. Even walking for twenty minutes a day can help you stay fit, and, if you want to keep track of your progress, you can count your steps with a FitBit.
4. Think before you drink.
Although the sweet taste of a Norbucks Frappuccino sounds like a great way to start your day, sugar-filled beverages are not your friend in college. If you must have caffeine in the morning, look for unsweetened coffee or tea. Ditch the soda machine and drink water or milk with meals.
When you go out to drink with your friends, indulge yourself, but keep track of the amount and type of alcohol you consume. Don’t forget to add in the chasers when you’re calculating. Later on, you can research how much sugar or how many calories are in those drinks.
5. Store or share it!
Late-night munchies and C-store snacks may seem like the bane of your existence if you are trying to stick with healthy eating. After all, how can you say no to free wings? Thankfully, you don't necessarily have to. For example, you can take a plate of wings, but save half for later in your mini-fridge. Thinking about ordering a pizza? Offer to share with other people on your floor. You’ll be making friends and saving yourself from eating more than you probably wanted.