As college students are back to school, many are embarking on their first experience living away from home.
As they transition, they face a variety of obstacles when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, with these simple steps your kids can adjust well and pro-actively avoid tacking on the ‘freshman 15.’
Stocking the Mini-Fridge
Healthy habits can begin on Day 1. Start by stocking the dorm mini-fridge with nourishing college staples and smart snacks. For instance, try stashing the fridge with high-protein such as low-fat string cheese or hummus and baby carrots to keep their mental and physical energy up. For a sweet snack with fewer calories, try light alternatives such as yogurt and sorbet. For beverages, opt for portion-controlled sizes, such as bottled water or soft drinks. Finally, don’t forget about sleep! Student life has a lot of stress, which can impact sleep habits and stress eating – both of which can result in weight gain.
Navigating the campus
With so many food options around campus it’s no wonder many students find eating healthy to be daunting. Take your student on a tour around campus and explore the food options together, pointing out places that offer fresh produce, as well as healthy food options for late-night study sessions. To avoid weight gain, encourage them to be mindful in their eating by enjoying their favourites in moderation. For example, using a smaller plate at the start of the buffet line not only makes a normal portion seem larger, but it’s also a great way to avoid overeating.
Care package that ‘fit’ their needs
Care packages are a great way to make sure your student is keeping up on healthy habits. Support a healthy lifestyle by filling the package with things like:
High fiber snacks like nuts, whole grain cereal bars, popcorn and crackers.
Turkey jerky or small cans of tuna are rich protein sources that are easy to ship and nonperishable.
Homemade banana bread made with whole grain flour and walnuts, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids to support brain health.
A wireless activity tracker, new running shoes and/or new workout clothes to help encourage physical activity.
A comfy new pillow or blanket to encourage healthy sleep habits.
At the end of the day, making the transition to university life without gaining excess weight is completely doable if we are mindful of fuelling our bodies with the nutrients it needs and providing it with plenty of activity and sleep everyday.