Dear Incoming Freshmen,

Please, do yourself a favor and do not make my first-year dietary mistakes. It will save you a lot of confusion and time at the gym trying to burn off the recently acquired pounds. This may be difficult because of the delicious dining halls, but if you follow these tips, you’ll save yourself the struggle of losing the freshman fifteen.

1. Do not eat waffles every day

freshman

Photo by Emily Benoit

Just so everyone is aware, waffles have A LOT of calories. Unfortunately, my freshman year self was not aware of this and I decided to eat a Belgium waffle with whipped cream every day for a month. Eventually my pants stopped fitting and I couldn’t figure out why.

I came to find out that one waffle has a whopping 412 calories of essentially cake batter. Adding toppings such as whipped cream, syrup, and chocolate sauce will make your caloric intake skyrocket. So yes, freshman, DO NOT be me.

2. Do not eat for no reason

freshman

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Whether it’s for social reasons or just pure boredom, don’t pig out when you’re not hungry. Eating just because your roommate is eating is never a good idea. Rethink stress and emotional eating as well. There are better ways to handle your negative emotions such as exercise or meditation.

Social eating is a fun method of entertainment, however, keep it to a minimum if you can. It will save you money and calories. Listen to your body and only eat when you’re hungry, not because everyone else is doing it.

3. Late night eating is a trap

freshman

Photo by Emily Benoit

Late night snacks are amazing. The atmosphere in the dining hall is upbeat and the food is delicious. Not to mention, the fried food you avoided for dinner is starting to look more and more appealing. However, proceed with caution. It is very easy to be sucked in every night eating an additional meal after 9:30 pm.

Eating late at night is great if you need to grab a really late dinner or a pre/post going out snack, but don’t make it a daily habit. Eating within three hours of your bedtime can slow your metabolism down and cause bad weight gain. And let’s be real, you’re gunna choose a cookie dough sundae over the salad bar.

4. Don’t pour it up

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Photo courtesy of zmescience.com

College campuses have a variety of drinks that are constantly at your finger tips. The fountain juices and sodas that are offered in the dining halls are full of sugar. Choose freshly-squeezed juices over the fountain ones.

The best option, though, is water. Seltzer water is a good option if you like carbonated drinks. Throw a lemon in and it almost tastes like you’re drinking Sprite (kind of). If you’re not a fan of carbonated water, you can try some of the infused waters that the dining halls offer. Some popular flavors are citrus and mint-infused.

5. Don’t skip meals

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Photo courtesy of ftcollinspersonaltrainer.com

The freshman fifteen is a well-known aspect of the college experience. However, many students fall on the opposite end of this spectrum. Numerous students may unintentionally lose weight in college due to not eating enough nutritious food.

This can be due to skipping meals because of busy schedules or simply forgetting to eat. Not having enough energy makes your body feel weak and makes you more prone to anxiety. Make eating a priority regardless of how busy you are.

6. Ration your passion

freshman

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Portion control is something that many college students have a hard time with. Eating a bowl of pasta every night with three slices of triple chocolate cake will catch up to you. Trust me.

Make conscious decisions to eat a variety of foods, and try to keep unhealthy ones to a minimum. If you find that you have a hard time knowing what correct portion sizes are, consider taking a basic nutrition class. Nutrition classes have a ton of useful information about portion control and eating a well-balanced diet.

7. Limit the unlimited meal plan

freshman

Photo courtesy of umassdining.com

Although the Unlimited Meal Plan is a great option for students, just be cautious of how frequently you are going to the dining halls, because it can lead to overeating and wasting unnecessary food. You may even find yourself wasting a lot of time at the dining halls for no justifiable reason, solely because you don’t have to worry about how many swipes you are using.

#SpoonTip: If you find yourself only eating two meals a day, consider switching to another meal plan that your school offers.

Hopefully these tips help you rethink some of your daily habits, and maybe you’ll rethink having a waffle for the fifteenth morning in a row.