The Dreaded “Freshman 15”: Myth? Reality? How to Prepare?

Forget having to learn how to passive-aggressively live with a roommate, how to fit into a social group or how to deal with Intro to Economics during your freshmen year, the scariest thing about going to college lies in a frequently repeated saying that haunts high school seniors everywhere. The Freshman 15. You are off on your own for the first time, making the decision about when, what and how much to eat. Not to mention you’re entirely set up for failure with the all-you-can-eat ice cream bar and pizza available for every meal and don’t forget the late night snacks.

The dreaded weight gain for freshmen actually may be a complete myth. Researchers from Oregon State University have actually shown college freshman only gain 2-3lbs on average; that is just slightly above the national average. But, if you’re still worried about your future college diet, here are a few helpful tips.

The Caf is not your enemy

After moving off campus for my final semester of college, if there was one thing I missed about living in a dorm, it was the cafeteria. (Along with maintenance workers…you never realize the importance of these amazing individuals until you have to clean your own bathroom or wait 4 hours for your roommate to get out of class, since you locked your keys inside the house.)

Not ever having to worry about making dinner or planning ahead to know what you will eat for lunch the next day is something most college students take for granted. It is a blessing, so take advantage of it!

No matter how many negative connotations college eating has, you may be surprised at how many healthy options you have. From salad bars to bowls of fruit and vegetables with every meal, look past the pizza and panini lines for the healthier choices.

Have a stock-pile in your dorm

Healthy mini-fridge options for college students

That mini-fridge under your desk isn’t just for red bull and sodas. Use it to stock up on healthy staples, such as veggies, hummus, and non-sugary yogurts. Remember those healthy items in the caf? Save money by grabbing a couple pieces of fruit to take back to your dorm. Then, when you woke up late and are rushing to get to class, you’ll have healthy items on hand that will also save you time.

Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast is your most important meal of the day. However, with late nights and 8 a.m. classes, it is also the easiest meal to skip over. Along with having healthy, quick options available in your dorm room, head to the cafeteria for oatmeal or eggs which will keep you energized throughout the day.

Everything in moderation

Wendy's fries dipped in ice cream is a college student delicacy

One of the biggest contributors to that dreaded “Freshman 15” has to do with when and why you’re eating. Every social group has that one friend who is eternally hungry. Doesn’t matter if dinner was just an hour ago or it’s 3 a.m., they are the ones to suggest making a trip to the local Wendy’s and getting french fries to dip in their chocolate sundaes. Yes…that happens and turns out, it’s delicious. You don’t have to completely cut out junk food, instead savor the delicacies in smaller portions.

Choosing the right college

There are numerous factors that go into making a decision about where to attend college. Making sure the campus has not only good tasting food, but also plenty of options is one contributing factor for high school students. Many colleges are moving towards promoting healthy eating around campus, including the cafeteria, express food lines and vending machines. Some of the universities leading the way are City University of New York, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Cornell and Brown.

Blueprint summer programs helps high school students prepare for the transition to college. Not just academically, but personally and socially as well. We let you know what to expect as you move on to higher education. From living in a dorm to navigating the college diet, we cover it all. Come learn and prepare with us this summer!