The average college student living in a residence hall will gain at least 25 pounds in their freshman year of college. Part of this gain in weight is due to the changes in the body’s metabolism as students are beginning to become adults rather than teenagers. However, a lot of the increase in weight while in college is because students are now 100 percent responsible for choosing the times that they eat along with selecting foods and beverages. To learn more about vitamins and other nutrients, a college student should enroll in a nutrition class in their first semester of college. Here are a few additional tips that students can follow in order to remain healthy while in college and afterward. 

Tip One: Follow a Regular Meal Eating Schedule

College students frequently have strange schedules with a combination of morning, afternoon and evening classes that change each semester. This leads to a college student eating snacks and meals at different times each day along with huge swings in their body’s energy levels. Consuming food at approximately the same times each day is an important way to avoid gaining weight.

Tip Two: Never Skip Meals

Eating a nutritious breakfast can help college students avoid consuming huge lunches and dinners. Breakfast should include a low-fat protein such as scrambled eggs, a grain product such as whole-wheat toast and fruit such as grapefruit wedges or fresh orange juice. Students who are able to tolerate lactose should also drink milk or eat yogurt in order to replenish calcium in their body. 

Tip Three: Learn About Portion Sizes

Most college students eat their meals in all-you-can-eat cafeterias where it is easy to choose extremely large portions. Eating large portion sizes is a primary reason that college students gain weight. A portion of meat is the size of a playing card, and cheese portions are the size of a dice. When students fill a plate at lunch and dinner, it should contain large amounts of fresh vegetables rather than high calorie pasta or white rice. 

Tip Four: Avoid Liquid Calories

It is easy for college students to drink soft drinks several times a day because cafeterias offer free refills. Instead of consuming soft drinks with meals, choose to drink water, milk or fruit juice that will provide hydration and nutrients rather than empty calories. Older college students must also resist drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages because this also leads to gaining weight and losing nutrients. 

Tip Five: Eat Healthy Snacks

The cafeterias that serve food to college students are aware that they need nutritious snacks between meals and often supply takeaway choices such as bananas, oranges or chopped vegetables. A student can carry these foods with them to eat between classes or in their residence hall room. Most college students are permitted to have small refrigerators in their rooms and can buy healthy foods at local grocery stores to keep for snacking.