9 Easy Ways To Be A Little Healthier In College

College has changed a lot over the past few generations, but if there’s one thing that has survived countless shifts, it’s the fear of the Freshman 15. The Freshman 15 is the idea that an incoming freshman student gains weight during their first year of college. While this doesn’t happen to everyone, a little weight gain happens to plenty in college, and pretty easily too. Lots of freshman students are required to have a meal plan, which provides a set number of meals per day, week, or semester, meaning you have access to all kinds of food at almost all hours; that’s not even including other meal options that you can grab on or off campus. Couple that with drinking, stress, stress snacking, and Top Ramen…and you’ve got the perfect storm for weight gain.

But I’m not here to act like gaining a little weight is the worst thing in the world, because it’s not. People gain and lose weight all the time. You should worry less about weight and pay more attention to unhealthy habits that make you feel like garbage. Listen, we’re all going to pig out and experiencing a whole lot of excess in college, that’s just the way it goes. But everything in moderation, yeah? I say this to you as a chick who ordered so much pizza in my freshman year that I can’t even think about it without feeling a little nauseous. So, instead of freaking out about the scale, check out these nine easy ways to be a little healthier in college. I’m not telling you to throw out all of your junk food (that would be torture), but doing a few things here and there will definitely make you feel a little better after a long day of classes.


S L E E P

My sleep schedule in college was trash. Trash. I took a ton of naps here and there (maybe too many), but it got to a point where I was getting around five hours of sleep every night (if that). You might think you can function on very little sleep, but trust me, it really takes its toll on your concentration, your stress levels, and your body. You'll have nights where you get very little sleep, and you'll even pull a few all-nighters--that's college--but don't rely on weekends to catch up on a week's worth of sleep.

Breakfast At Tiffanys

Be Mindful In The Dining Hall

The thing about eating away from home is that you pretty much have unlimited access to as many portions of whatever your heart desires. This sounds great, but can get a little out of control really quickly. Portion control isn't just about losing weight or keeping the pounds off, it's also about being more mindful of what you stuff into your mouth. Just ask yourself if you really need seconds of everything, or if you just need to drink some water and let your food settle.

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Don't Shuttle Around Campus; Walk Or Bike

If your campus provides a shuttle that gets you from point A to point B, there's nothing wrong with using it if you have to go a really long distance. But if you're just using it because you're too lazy to walk up the hill? Dude, suck it up. Unless the weather is trash, just walk. Or, invest in a bike and a sturdy bike lock to zip around campus a lot quicker, while still getting a bit of a work out.

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Have Healthier Snacks In Your Room

My ultimate guilty pleasure food is potato chips. I can eat a massive bag in one sitting and only feel a little gross afterwards. But while I treated myself to a bag of chips every now and then, I worked really hard to resist having it in my room on the regular. It's tough, but possible. If you have a similarly unhealthy snacking addiction, switch it out with something like trail mix instead. Before you wrinkle your nose at me, remember that trail mix isn't only filling, it can be a healthy indulgence. Lightly salted nuts can ease your salt craving, while bits of dark chocolate and dried berries can handle your sweet tooth. Plus, you can get versatile and throw it in some yogurt for a quick breakfast.

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Don't Do Too Much Binge Drinking

I'm not going to tell you to drink or not to drink, but if you do drink, don't consistently get wasted every time. Not only can you get super dehydrated, you can also get really sick and uncomfortably bloated.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Cook More

If you're lucky enough to have access to a kitchen, don't take that for granted. It's a nice change of pace to be able to just cook something for yourself instead of heading over to a fast food joint. Plus, you can control what's actually going into your food...you don't want to even know how much unnecessary oil and sodium was in your dinner at the dining hall the other night. Plus, it can be fun to make a habit of cooking with some friends at least once a week. If you're not much of a cook, start out with finding cool ways to make your instant ramen more healthy (and tastier too). Throwing in some veg and more flavorful seasonings can do wonders.

You can buy this noodle bowl at Urban Outfitters for $14

Carry A Water Bottle With You

Hydration is so underrated, and buying water all the time adds up. So why not get a solid water bottle that you'll actually want to carry around with you all day every day? You'll feel and look better if you drink enough water everyday, so don't underestimate the power of a good water bottle to get you motivated!

You can buy this water bottle at Urban Outfitters for $18

Get A Little Bit Of A Workout Every Now And Then

Between classes and having a social life, it's hard to pencil in time to work out. Also, let's be real, working out can be a pain. But here's the truth: We all feel so much better after we get some exercise in. Maybe you can just walk around campus once or twice a week; drag a friend along. Also, many colleges have a gym on campus that's free for students to use. Yo, you pay for this as a part of your overpriced tuition, so take advantage of it if you're intrigued.

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DON'T. DEVELOP. A. SMOKING. HABIT.

So many people end up doing this in college. Some just can't keep "casual smoking" at a party all that casual for very long. Smoking becomes a habit, which becomes even harder to shake as school stress blows up. I hate to sound like your mom, but if there's one vice (aside from, like, I don't know, meth) that you should avoid, it's a cigarette addiction. Plus, you don't have money for all those cigarettes anyway. What are you doing?!

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 Are you a college freshman? What’s your biggest hurdle at the moment? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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