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Avoiding the Freshman 15 at Penn State

With so many college related burdens on their minds such as classes, homework or studying for upcoming exams, there isn’t much time for your student to think about a healthy lifestyle. Here are some quick tips that you can discuss with them that will make avoiding the dreaded "Freshman 15" a breeze.

Walk to class to avoid the freshmen 15Tip #1 - Walk to Class

At some of the Penn State campuses, most notably University Park, there is a convenient bus loop that brings students all over the campus within minutes. This is a very nice feature if you are late or it is raining, however walking the extra 10-15 minutes to class every day is an excellent source of exercise. Some classes are close to a mile away from your dorm or apartment and walking to and from class twice a day can sometimes lead to 3 miles of walking, daily!

Eat healthy to fight off the freshmen 15Tip #2 - Eat Healthy at the Dining Hall

Dining halls on campus often consist of a buffet style or "all you can eat" meal. Your student can swipe their Lion Cash card at the door and have access to as much food as they want for under $8. This is not necessarily a bad thing providing your student knows the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy meal. Pasta, salad, vegetables, soups and sandwiches along with low fat meats are readily available at most dining halls.

Avoid soda to keep of that freshmen 15Tip #3 - Avoid Soda and Sugary Drinks At All Costs

Every can of soda contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar! (That’s more than 1/5 cups of sugar PER CAN). Most 12oz. cans of soda also contain 100-120 calories. By cutting soda out of your diet, you will find it easier to hit that 2000 calorie daily mark. The last positive effect of this tip is that soda damages your teeth. It not only promotes tooth decay, it stains enamel as well. Sometimes the damage is irreversible.

Cook for yourself to stay fitTip #4 - Cook For Yourself

Inevitably, the dining halls are going to get boring. Your student will find a few things that they like best (hopefully healthy items!) and typically eat them more often than others. Eventually the fast food places and multitude of other eating establishments in Downtown State College will start to look appetizing, and easy. Most of them your student can even use their Lion Cash ID card to pay. However, making use of these places regularly will most likely lead to some extra pounds.

One of the best ways to "mix it up a bit" is to have your student head to the local grocery store and get some things to cook for themselves. Not only is this a much healthier alternative, it also provides a much larger variety of food choices. In the end, they will hopefully find this experience much more rewarding and remember it for the future.

Go to the gym to keep off the freshmen 15Tip #5 - Go To The Gym

There are several gyms on most of the Penn State campuses, especially University Park. The best part about them is the membership fee is extremely cheap and you can add it directly to your bursar account. One thing you must remember is not to use protein supplements after the gym if you are trying to LOSE weight. Protein supplements are designed to increase your muscle weight percentage from a workout.

Remember: Everything is OK in Moderation

The tips we provided here are excellent and can be easy ways to avoid gaining extra weight while attending colege. However, under no circumstances should any of these things be blacklisted. Fast food is ok every now and then, as is soda or eating the deep fried chicken fingers at the dining hall. Just make sure these things do not become a habit. After all, everyone deserves to spoil themselves every once in a while and your mental health is as important as your physical health.