How to: Avoid the “Freshman Fifteen”

Story by Lexi Carter
Photo by Grand Central Photo Staff

Going away to college is a new, exciting experience, but it’s not always exciting for your wallet when you have to get new pants because your old ones got too tight.

Moving into a dorm with a dining hall is like walking into an all-you-can-eat buffet. Most of the time, your eyes are bigger than your stomach and before you know it, you’ve eaten three plates full of food. And, without always having the option of a kitchen, eating out often can also happen.

Our advice? Start the year off right by developing good eating habits. Follow a few of our simple strategies to help you avoid weight gain in your first year away.

Drink lots of water. 

Water is great for you. No matter what, drink it all day, every day. While it doesn’t directly help you lose weight, your body will love you for drinking it.

Water is needed for your body to process calories and without drinking enough water, dehydration will begin to slow your metabolism.

Carrying around a water bottle will help you to stay on top of drinking water and avoid the side effects of dehydration. Drinking water throughout the day and before a meal will also keep you full and prevent you from overeating.

Stock up on healthy snacks.

Avoiding the freshman fifteen doesn’t mean that you don’t get to eat, it just means that you have to watch what you eat.

Stocking up on healthy snacks is a way to combat grabbing the bag of potato chips and binge eating because of stress. Instead, keep the junk food to a minimum and buy foods with protein and carbohydrates to keep you from feeling sluggish all day.


If you can’t seem to stay away from the unhealthy snacks, make sure you’re hitting the gym every week to curb those extra calories.

It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous – a little cardio or a quick workout routine will help keep you healthy.

Shop Smart.

Never go shopping while hungry – you’re bound to grab everything you see that sounds good while walking down the aisles of the grocery store.

This will leave your cart full of chips, candy and pop that you don’t need if you’re trying to avoid gaining extra weight. Instead, make a list before you go grocery shopping so you’ll only get what you need to stay healthy. This will also help with meal preparations for the week.

Don’t eat because you’re stressed.

When you’re stressed, it’s easy to grab the first thing you see to eat. Instead of grabbing a handful of candy or chips, go for a handful of nuts or fruit.

Or, instead of eating when you’re stressed, find a new way to destress like exercising, reading or exploring a new hobby.

Own the dining hall.

Instead of going into the dining hall and getting everything from all the stations, pick one meal to eat. If you’re still hungry, consider grabbing a salad or some fruit instead of another plate of fries.

Knowing all of your options will help you most when it comes to picking the healthiest meals in the dining hall.