ScaleAsk any adult or scientific researcher, it is easier to prevent weight gain than it is to lose weight and keep it off. The first year on campus can be a risky time for college students since they are in a new environment, with unfamiliar routines and plenty of opportunities to overindulge. Keep these tips in mind to help you steer clear of those unwanted extra pounds.

    • Remember that a meal plan is not a license to eat all of everything you want. Watch portion sizes. Try to pick lean protein, plenty of fruits and vegetables, go easy on the salad dressing, and split desserts instead of eating a whole portion.
      • 1 serving pasta = ½ cup cooked pasta
      • 1 serving bagel = ½ Lender’s size bagel
      • 1 serving milk = 1 cup (USE SKIM)
      • 1 serving steak = 3 oz (size of palm of hand)

    • Instead of pizza, chips, candy, and ice cream, try to keep snacks like pretzels, bananas, whole-grain cereal, low-fat yogurt, raisins, hummus, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots on hand for those studying munchies.
    Good snack choices
        • Instant soup 100 calories 2 grams of fat
        • Low-fat yogurt 190 calories 3 grams of fat
        • Honey nut cheerios & milk 155 calories 1.5 grams of fat
        • Instant oatmeal 140 calories 2.5 grams of fat
        • Personal pizza on English muffin 200 calories 4 grams of fat
        • Granola bar & skim milk 200 calories 4 grams of fat

    • Eat a variety of food. Avoid eating cereal every morning for breakfast or a turkey sandwich every day for lunch. You might lose out on important nutrients if you do that.

    • Make exercise, physical activity, and quality sleep a part of your daily routine. Engage in regular movement on a daily basis – walking to class and using the stairs, instead of the elevator, all aid in weight loss and maintenance. As well, try to exercise at a moderate-intensity at least 5 days a week for 30-60 minutes. Physical activity and enough of the right kind of sleep are prerequisites for academic performance at the college level. Remember that you came here to learn and get a degree.

    • As a part of life in a campus town, you will be presented with many opportunities to imbibe. Alcohol has more calories, ounce per ounce, than carbohydrate or protein. And in addition to the extra calories, drinking has a tendency to make large quantities of questionable foods very appealing. Eating small amounts of healthy snacks with the beverage of your choice can help you control calories and feel better the next day.

    Recent research with freshman found that those who weigh themselves regularly do not gain as much weight as those who do not monitor their weight. This is true for adults too. If you find yourself reaching more often for the sweat pants, and less often for those jeans that fit when you arrived on campus, rethink how you are taking care of yourself. You are certainly not alone in the quest for a healthy weight and being healthy with friends is a great way to go.

    For more information on being healthy on a college campus and making good food choices visit

    Ms. Ann Litt has written an excellent book, The College Student’s Guide to Eating Well on Campus, for college students trying to live a healthy lifestyle. For information about the book visit

    Author: By: Janet Tietyen, Associate Professor; and Tammy Stephenson, Lecturer
    Terms: DHN