College is what you make of it, but it takes a while to figure things out. UNH will give you opportunities for amazing experiences that you can't find elsewhere. First semester of freshman year is an exciting time to explore new things and gain your newly found independence. Managing a new environment, new friends, clubs, sports, homework, and no parents (yasss) can add a lot of stress to your life.

Here's the bad news—it can lead to the dreaded freshman 15. Don't panic though, I've got you. Having had the time to reflect on my freshman year, here are 12 tips and tricks that I wish I had known when I was a freshman.

1. Leave your cash and cards at home

Fuel up before you go out. If you eat before you leave your room on a Friday or Saturday night, you'll be less likely to "need" food when you're out... no matter what the alcohol you've consumed makes you think. This will help you eat healthier and save money.

2. Hit up Health Services

Kyndra McKenzie

UNH is so lucky to have such an involved Health Services program. They offer tons of different guidance based on student needs. Nutrition counseling, eating concerns counseling, and stress management are just a few of the programs worth checking out if you're concerned about a weight or eating issue. 

3. Keep an eye on Pinterest and Spoon University

Create a Pinterest account and sign up for Spoon e-mails, because they're both lifesavers. You can find tons of healthy and creative recipes to make right in the dining halls and even in your dorm room.

4. Check out the new Hamel Rec Center

UNH just got #blessed with a new rec center which is open now, but should be 100% completed in January 2017. They offer everything from intramural sports and group fitness to personal training. Definitely worth checking out.

5. Walk instead of taking your moped or the Gables bus

cake, birthday cake
Kyndra McKenzie

Sure, having a moped on campus is cool, but walking is way cooler. Get some extra steps in by walking to class instead of moped-ing or hopping on the campus connector. You might live a little farther away, but the extra steps go further.

6. Always plan ahead for study breaks

Study breaks are the perfect time to eat snacks and de-stress, but eating while studying can cause you to eat more than you intended - especially if you don't bring your own snacks. Just because it's convenient doesn't mean a bag of Cheetos from the vending machine is the way to go. Try packing a snack to bring to the lib or take a longer break and head to the dining hall for an apple with peanut butter.

7. Be aware of calories

Counting calories isn't necessary to avoid the freshman 15, and isn't necessarily the best way to lose weight, but you should be aware of your food choices. Calories add up quick - and remember that drinks have calories too. Maybe you don't need that Venti Caramel Macchiato today. Only eat calories that count, none of that empty calorie nonsense. 

8. Coffee, coffee, coffee

coffee, tea, milk, espresso, chocolate
Kyndra McKenzie

With Breaking New Grounds, Ramon's, Higher Grounds, and Aroma Joe's to give us our caffeine fix, who would say no to a coffee? Good news is, you don't have to - because coffee has a very low calorie count naturally. You just have to watch your cream, flavor shot, and sugar quantity.

9. One word: WATER

Water is an essential part of our diet. It's one of the six main nutrients we need to survive and drinking more water has tons of nutritional benefits. Start out with a Nalgene bottle a day and increase your amount of water from there. 

10. Sleep is not for the weak

From one sleep deprived college student to another, we need to get our sh*t together. Gaining a few hours a sleep is do-able, just put down your phone and pass out. It's all about time management, which can be hard, especially first semester of freshman year. Grab a planner at the bookstore and plan out your weeks in advance. It'll help you save time and be more productive. 

11. Beware of Kurt's, Wild Kitty and Pita Pit

Kyndra McKenzie

Honestly, Wild Kitty, Kurt's and Pita Pit are reason enough to come study at UNH. If you haven't already I strongly encourage you to try all three, ASAP! Unfortunately, these are treat yo' self foods, not every day foods - remember that

12. Don't avoid your favorite foods

chocolate, cookie, dairy product
Kyndra McKenzie

 Avoiding your favorite foods may help you stay healthy, but it'll make you miserable. Indulge every once in a while. A cheat meal never killed anyone, just make sure it doesn't turn into a cheat week.