Back-to-School Fitness: How to Avoid the Freshman 15

Snack Smarter and Fresher

Resist the temptation to indulge in packaged snacks that lack nutrients such as potato chips, cheese puffs, Twinkies, Pop-Tarts and more. There's a reason foods such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are staples of the American diet: They are simple and filling.

A classic PB&J (or peanut butter and banana with honey) on whole-wheat bread has craving-curbing protein, healthy fats and slow-digesting carbs that help dampen blood sugar spikes. Other great snacks include plain yogurt with fruit, oatmeal, fruits, whole-grain cereals, rice cakes, low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat cheese wrapped in deli meat. If needed, get a mini-fridge to keep healthy staples like these handy.

More: 10 Satisfying 200-Calorie Snacks

Exercise with Your Friends or Pick up a New Sport

Working out is better when you're with friends and can encourage each other. Research shows it's easier to exercise and eat better if your friends are doing the same things. On the contrary, the reverse is also true.

Be the master of your own health and invite your friends to work out and eat good food together so you can all build healthy habits. If it's your first year on campus and you haven't met many people yet, try joining an intramural sports team, as this can be a great opportunity to meet new friends.

More: How to Find Friends With (Fitness) Benefits

...Or Exercise on Your Own

Sometimes, you just can't wait for other people, and with a newfound freedom to do whatever they please, college students may find it hard to commit to regular exercise and physical activity. This may mean you need to go to the athletic center or bike around campus by yourself and exercise solo several times a week. If your friends aren't willing to tag along, set up a workout schedule each week and hold yourself accountable.

Prepare for Stress

Stress can create a domino effect on your energy levels. Whether it's your drinking, eating or sleeping habits, stress can negatively affect your lifestyle. In the first year of college, you may find yourself more stressed than you've ever been before, so be prepared.

When stress hits, talk about your issues with your friends or speak to your parents. If needed, find a college counselor or an old mentor you can trust and talk with regularly. The less stress you encounter on a daily basis, the less likely you'll be to develop poor health habits. Plus, your mind will be clearer and your grades may be higher as a result.

More: 7 Ways Exercise Relieves Stress

Active logoStay in shape in a fitness class or read more fitness articles.

PREV
  • 2
  • of
  • 2

About the Author

Cat Perry

Cat Perry is a fitness magazine deputy editor and writer, and a fit-travel blogger, covering breakthroughs in exercise, gear, action sports, wellness, nutrition and travel. Her work has appeared in Men's Fitness, MSN, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Muscleandfitness.com, Dealnews.com, and Pride Life. Visit her blog Over and Outside, where she travels the globe to find the latest trends in fit, healthy and adventurous living. To unwind, she enjoys kayaking, hiking, trail running, and pushing limits while strength training.
Cat Perry is a fitness magazine deputy editor and writer, and a fit-travel blogger, covering breakthroughs in exercise, gear, action sports, wellness, nutrition and travel. Her work has appeared in Men's Fitness, MSN, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Muscleandfitness.com, Dealnews.com, and Pride Life. Visit her blog Over and Outside, where she travels the globe to find the latest trends in fit, healthy and adventurous living. To unwind, she enjoys kayaking, hiking, trail running, and pushing limits while strength training.

Discuss This Article