We've all heard about the freshman 15, and it's as daunting as it sounds! However, we want to tell you to relax. Most studies have shown that first-year weight gain is usually more likely to be around 3-5 lbs. Just stay away from the wings, nachos, and burgers. Not only will they eat away at that hard earned 6pack, but they'll eat away at your wallet to, and before you know it, you're stuck eating ramen and KD for the next 9 months. With that in mind, we've devised a few ways that you can avoid the freshman 3 to 5 to 15, and keep your budget on track!
5 QUICK WAYS TO SAVE MONEY & CALORIES
- Eat Out Smart: Ok, what I'm about to say is sacrilege, but forget about the all you can eat Chinese food buffets for $5.99 on Mondays, pasta bar Tuesdays, wine Wednesdays, thirsty Thursdays, deep-fried Fridays, and all the delicious brunches the weekend bring. For starters, you're going to break your budget, and your belt. Fill half your plate at the salad bar, and divide the rest of the plate with protein (eggs, lean meats, beans, fish, or tofu) and whole grains or fruit. HINT: look for foods that's as close to its natural state as possible (a baked potato is better than a tater tot).
- Snack Wisely: Grab snacks that are high in protein, fiber, or both. Keeping a healthy little stash in your dorm will not only stave your hunger, but means not wandering into the McDonalds down the road. Things like yogurt, almond butter and whole-grain crackers, veggies and hummus are perfect.
- Don't Drink Your Calories: Soda, juice, energy drinks, lattes, and Frappuccinos add crazy amounts of calorie to your bottom line. Try good old fashioned water. If you need a caffeine boost, get a small french press and a kettle, and make your own coffee. Not only will be better on your budget, but you'll impress the hell out of your friends.
- Stop Social Grazing: Let's talk about Party Mix. It truly is the best snack ever invented. However, that doesn't give you the right to eat an entire bag!! It’s too easy to inhale when you’re hanging out with friends. Snack slowly, and ask yourself if you’re hungry or just eating out of boredom.
- Hit The Gym: These days, it’s hard to find a college whose tuition doesn’t cover a free or cheap gym membership. Whether it’s swimming laps, lifting weights, or logging time on the treadmill a couple times a week, take advantage of this benefit and burn some calories! (See: 8 Rules of Lifting)
Hitting the gym? Make sure you grab your Wiivvs here
9 FOODS THAT FIGHTS FATIGUE
- Chia Seeds
- Green Tea
- Whole-Wheat Bread
10 CHEAP WAYS TO EAT HEALTHY
Buy unprocessed foods: Not only are they cheaper and more nutritious, they also give you total control over the ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that comes in a box.
- Proteins. Ground beef, frozen chicken breast, tuna cans, calves’ liver, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, eggs, milk, whey
- Carbs. Pasta, rice, oats, potatoes, beans, apples, bananas, raisins, broccoli, spinach, cabbage
- Fats. Olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds, real butter, mixed nuts
- Buy Cheap Proteins: The general rule of thumb is to eat 1g protein per pound per day to build and maintain muscle. Eating whole protein with each meal also helps fat loss. However, if you're a student, keep the steaks for special occasions. Buy eggs, milk, tuna, and frozen chicken or turkey breast.
- Buy Frozen Fruits: Or watch for seasonal fruit sales and freeze your own. You can usually stock up on cheap blueberries or strawberries and throw them in a freezer bag for later. $2.99/lb is much cheaper than $5.99!
- Buy Store Brand and Bulk: There is no reason you can't buy rice, pasta, quinoa, oatmeal in bulk. It's cheaper, and it won't spoil before you go through it. Afterwards, head to the local no-name brand shop and pick up your eggs, milk, cottage cheese, frozen fruits/veggies. They may taste a bit different, but they’ll save you money on packaging & advertising (think 30-40% markup!)
- Buy In Season: Root vegetables in the Winter. Apples & squash in the Fall. Broccoli & berries in the Summer. They are not only cheaper, but they taste great... and if you're buying store brand, this will definitely make all the difference.
- Buy Discounted Meat: Grocery stores often discount meats by up to 70% as they approach expiration date. So stock up, and throw it in your freezer. Who wouldn't rather buy 12 chicken breasts for $9 instead of $16.
- Drink Tap Water: If you're worried about drinking your tap water, get a Brita filter. It’s significantly cheaper than bottled water, soda or orange juice. One $8 filter cleans 40 gallons water and makes it taste a lot better.
- Check the Unit Price: Big packages are often, but not always cheaper than small ones. Sometimes 2 small boxes are cheaper than 1 big one although there’s more packaging. So read the per unit price, and get more for less every time!
- Avoid Impulse Buying: Plan your meals ahead, and list all foods you need for the next 7 to 14 days. This not only helps you plan to pack your lunch and save you money/calories, it keeps you stocked up to avoid those late night study cravings. Go to the grocery store, get what’s on your list and get out. HINT: Eat Before You Go Shopping. This prevents buying foods not on your list because you’re hungry.
- Grow Your Own Food: If you're lucky enough to have room on your dorm windowsill to grow a small tomato plant, or herbs, do it. Not only will your place smell amazing, it's a great hobby to take your mind off your studies. It will also help you to save money, and fresh food tastes great.