As students in the class of 2020 settle into their first college semesters, here are helpful tips to post on the dorm room fridge to help prevent the dreaded "Freshman 15" pound weight gain. These tips apply not only to college students but to anyone undergoing a major life event or llifestyle change.

Watch what you eat 
1. Late night cramming = late night craving. Be prepared for the munchies with healthy snacks such as almonds, fruit, cut veggies. Snacks that contain protein and fat will keep you satisfied much longer than sugary foods.
2. Don't drink your calories. Watch soda, alcohol and shake-style hot or cold coffees laden with sugar, chocolate or syrups. The calories in one of those drinks amount to one full meal.
3. Use your college meal plan wisely. Many cafeteria foods aren't healthy; so don't treat your visits as all-you-can-eat buffets.
4. Choose colors-of-the-rainbow-foods. Select red, orange, yellow, green and purple fresh and cooked foods. If you're eating mostly brown and white foods, you're setting yourself up for trouble.

Watch when you eat
5. Enjoy large breakfasts and lunches, but cut down quantities at dinner.
6. Better yet, try eating smaller meals several times a day. Studies have shown eating small amounts every 3 to 4 hours actually helps you burn more calories, by boosting your metabolism. (New England Journal of Med found snacking leads to weight loss).
7. Pizza parties are everywhere in the dorms. Put a two-slice limit on your eating and fill-up on salad whenever possible.

Keep moving
8. Get to know your campus fitness center. Schedule an orientation. Try out a group exercise class. Use it for meeting new friends.
9. Find a workout buddy and plan workouts together. Working out with a friend makes you accountable and increases the likelihood you'll make it to the gym.
10. Take up an intramural sport; you don't need to be a pro to play and practice.
11. If you miss a work out make up for it by going dancing on Friday or Saturday nights. It's great exercise
12. Find simple ways to fit in activities. Walk or bike to class. Use the stairs. Track your steps. It's easy to stay active every day and it sets you up for a lifetime of good habits.

Focus on the basics
13. Get your Zs. If you're sleep deprived, you're more likely to munch on sugary foods. Six to eight hours of sleep each night helps you make better decisions all day long.
14. Supplement your diet with a daily multi-vitamin (with doctor's approval).
15. Use your campus wellness center whenever you need physical or mental care. The staff is there to support your well-being and campus success.


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