Eight tips to save college students 15 pounds

There's debate on whether students should fear the "Freshman Five" or the "Freshman Fifteen," but most evidence shows college freshmen gain weight their first year in college.

As students who have dieted and gained 20-20 hindsight, a class of third-year Tennessee Tech University students studying nutrition explain how college students can avoid those extra pounds.

1. Use your meal card
You'll find yourself eating at regularly scheduled times with a better variety of food choices. Make your cafeteria visits social, fun times with friends.

2. Oatmeal for breakfast
Your mother was right -- don't skip breakfast. Students suggest keeping a variety of instant flavored oatmeal in your dorm room so you can eat before class.

3. Feel fruity
Another advantage of cafeteria eating is that whole fruit is usually offered daily. Grab a piece of fruit on your way back to your room. Eat it as a snack later in the day.

4. One scoop or two?
Juniors say portions hurt them as much as what they ate. The palm of your hand is a good point of reference as a serving size for most meats.

5. Drinking calories
Alcohol contains seven calories per gram. That means a regular beer has 150 calories, a wine cooler had 175 and any liqueur added to a drink can add as many as 185 calories. Soft drinks average 150 calories per 12 ounces.

6. Cookies and Peanut Butter
Pick ginger snaps for a low fat cookie. Eat them out of the bag or with peanut butter and a fruit or some baby carrots for a quick, no-time-for-the-cafeteria meal.

7. Pizza -- it can hurt you
Don't deny yourself, but the juniors agreed it was the biggest calorie villain they faced. Think veggie toppings and limit your slices.

8. Lay your money on eggs
A great source of protein for seven cents apiece, you can scramble one in your dorm microwave in 45 seconds.

"My best advice for college women is to spend as much time planning what you'll eat as you spend on deciding what you'll wear," said Cathy Cunningham, a TTU human ecology professor.

"The pressure for social acceptance takes priority in any college freshman's life, and eating correctly easily falls by the wayside," she said.
Cunningham also advises college students to check out their campus fitness center. There's usually no charge, and centers, such as TTU's Fitness Center, offer more than weight training, including swimming, aerobics, walking and pickup games at the basketball and volleyball courts.


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