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How to Start College the Healthy Way

By Sara Butler

When you start college, it’s an exciting time full of new experiences. For many, it’s the first time they’ve lived away from home. That newfound independence is a good thing, but you also have to look at the habits that might be forming as a result. Many college freshmen end up gaining weight -- often referred to as the “Freshmen 15” pounds of weight gain. You can avoid this by establishing some healthy habits from the get-go. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Reduce Liquid Calories

Grabbing a Mountain Dew to keep you up studying for that midterm might sound like a good idea, but liquid calories are one of the biggest contributors to weight gain in college students. Those fancy coffees, sodas, and energy drinks are high in sugar and calories. The focus should be on staying hydrated with water. If you need some extra flavor, add some fruit -- even frozen fruit will work if you don’t have fresh on hand.

Late Night Munchies

Ordering pizza late at night with friends is the nutritional downfall of many freshmen (and seniors). Convenience foods such as chips and candy are also found in a lot of dorm rooms. It’s easy to fall into bad snack patterns when you don’t have a kitchen or full-size refrigerator at your disposal but try to make sure you have healthy snacks on hand. Almonds or fruit such as apples are easy to keep around and can help satisfy those late-night munchies.

Get Active

It can be easy to fall into a pattern where you go to class, study, and then crash after hanging out with friends, but don’t forget to work in a little physical activity into your day. Consider taking a group exercise class to help keep you accountable or walk to class instead of taking the bus. Stairs are always a better option than an elevator, too.


You’ll likely struggle your whole life to get enough sleep, which is why establishing healthy sleep habits when you first strike out on your own is really important. You should try to get at least six hours of sleep per night, if not more. It’s important to get into a regular sleep schedule too. Try to wake up at about the same time every day and go to bed at about the same time. Yes -- even on the weekends.

Going to college places you one step closer to being a full-fledged adult, which means it's time to take responsibility for your health and wellness by building good habits to last all your life. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Gahanna, Ohio.

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