Lehigh Valley

How to avoid the freshman 15

How to avoid the freshman 15

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - It's an exciting time for college freshman. It's the start of a new chapter in their lives. Endless possibilities await, including their options in the dining hall.

There are ways, however, to avoid the dreaded freshman 15.

69 News spoke with Muhlenberg College freshman.

"I think stress has to do a lot with it," said student Lee Epstein.

Kathryn Prozzo said, "At home I go to the gym, I watch what I'm eating. It's probably going to be harder here because they put cookies in your face every day."

"They tend to overeat because it's readily available," said Roba Bozakis, a clinical dietitian with St. Luke's University Health Network.

Instead of keeping junk food in dorm rooms, she suggests snacks such as nuts and yogurt.

"Fruits, vegetables, bean dips, hummus, which is a chick pea dip, that's a great snack with some carrot sticks or cucumbers," she told 69 News.

Bozakis recommends avoiding temptations in the dining hall like fried foods that are loaded with calories.

"Maybe sticking more towards the hot meal line where you'll get your traditional protein and some vegetables or trying out the salad bar and being creative there," she said, adding to be careful about your salad dressing selection.

Some students do have a plan in place to stay healthy.

Epstein said, "I'm excited to find the gym here and start working out a lot."

"Our gym's beautiful but I'll have to explore the dining hall, hopefully they have chicken or something a little less carb dense," said Prozzo.

But not everybody is looking to avoid weight gain.

"I actually welcome the freshman 15. I would love to put 15 pounds on," said freshman football player Bobby Brown. "The weight as a football player, I'd love to be bigger."

Bozakis said it's about having balance and variety and getting in three meals a day.

She said, "When you tend to skip meals, and a lot of times college students do that, you tend to overeat later on in the day."

She recommends cutting back on sugary drinks like soda, juice and iced tea. She recommends sticking to water and using healthy ways to add flavor to water.

Don't forget to exercise, even walking when you can instead of driving. Intramural sports are another way to keep moving.

Bozakis said, "A lot of times it might be that these kids were involved in sports and then they go to college and don't maybe participate in sports like they used to."

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