Transitioning into college is not an easy process for first year students. Suddenly, instead of having to eat whatever your mom or dad prepared for dinner, you have tons of options in an all-you-can-eat style. Unfortunately, as amazing as eating whatever you want whenever you want sounds, it also can lead to the freshman 15.
But shaming yourself for gaining weight is not only unhealthy, but it will never help you lose any weight, and it's not going to make you feel any better. Weight gain is a part of life! It's completely acceptable to gain the freshman 15 and not care, because you shouldn't.
Though unhealthy foods are not the only cause of weight gain, cutting them out can help make a difference. For those college freshman who are looking to maintain a healthy diet, I've come up with a list of ten foods you should absolutely stray away from in order to avoid the freshman 15.
Instead of getting pasta or mashed potatoes as a side dish, try a small side salad from the salad bar. I know salads may be a turn off to some people but they're a filling option that isn't bad for you.
Instead of having soda with your meal, try the fruit infused water that Barone has. It's good for you and it tastes good.
Sugary Coffee Drink
As much as we all love those Starbucks flavored lattes and other coffee drinks, they're definitely not on the list of healthy foods. Sugary coffee drinks, just like soda, contain an unhealthy amount of sugar.
Instead of getting your regular vanilla latte, try asking for a skinny vanilla latte instead (or skinny whatever flavor drink you like). You still get your favorite flavor without consuming as much sugar in a can of coke. Loading up on sugary coffee drinks, even if you never sleep and you need the caffeine, is not a great way to avoid the freshman 15.
As great as they taste, one serving of french fries contains about 427 calories (yikes). So instead of reaching for fries when the side dishes at Barone are looking questionable, go for some fruit or a small salad instead. Although french fries are salty and delicious, the calories are just not worth it.
Milk chocolate, along with white chocolate, has an overload of added sugar, making it very unhealthy. However, a nice substitute that still satisfies your chocolate craving is dark chocolate.
Your average 100 gram bar of dark chocolate has 11 grams of fiber, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and other awesome health benefits. The important thing to remember is that the freshman 15 and milk chocolate are best friends.
When it comes to breakfast food, you should avoid putting bacon on your plate. In a three-strip serving of bacon, 90 of the 129 calories are from fat. Aside from being high in fat, bacon is also high in cholesterol and sodium. Though it may be a classic breakfast side, bacon is definitely something to stay away from.
This may come as a shocker to some. While it may be deceivingly healthy, fruit juice is a silent sugar villian. A cup of all natural fruit juice contains 36 grams of sugar. That said, one serving of Mott's Apple Juice contains 28 grams of sugar. The amount of sugar in this seemingly healthy drink is not worth all those added calories. Stick to water or natural fruit juice instead.
Sad to say that your favorite late night snack is next on the list. As easy as it is to grab a slice of pizza for lunch and dinner because your mind is telling you that you're getting your basic food groups in one option (dairy, fruit, and carbohydrate), a slice of pizza typically contains 272 calories. It's fine to eat pizza every now and then, but if you find yourself always gravitating towards the pizza station in the dining hall you should definitely keep those unhealthy calories in mind.
Energy drinks are a major no on the list. On those days when you didn't sleep at all the night before because you were studying for five different exams at once, it's really easy to grab an energy drink from the campus store. Energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster, lead to weight gain, dental issues due to their high amounts of sugar, osteoporosis, nausea, and other health issues
One can of Red Bull contains a whopping 37 grams of sugar and one can of Monster contains 27 grams of sugar. So instead of gravitating towards energy drinks when you're a walking zombie, drink water or a small cup of coffee instead (of course without a ton of added sugar because that isn't good either).
Sugar-filled Alcoholic Drinks
It's super easy to load up on sugary alcoholic drinks during your first semester of college without realizing the health risks. One can of Four Loko contains 60 grams of sugar and 660 calories, one Smirnoff Ice Vodka Cooler contains 32 grams of sugar and 228 calories, and one serving size of Malibu Rum (.8 fl.oz) contains 48 calories and 5.1 grams of sugar–one handle of Malibu is 58 ounces so you can do the math.
Next time you're at a party and you start drinking one of these sugar-filled drinks, make sure you have these nutrition facts in the back of your head.
Obviously any food can be considered "unhealthy" if you eat a lot of it. If any of the foods listed above happen to be something you love to eat, you don't necessarily have to avoid it entirely. Instead of always eating these foods, cutting back on them and having them every now and then is perfectly fine.
The real key here is moderation. If we all just watch how much junk food and sugary drinks we have, slowly but surely the freshman 15 will become less daunting and apparent.