Before even thinking about UCAS, university courses and where in the world I wanted to study, I was already excited to go to Uni – but not for the generic reasons.
In fact, I couldn’t wait to finish studying. I didn’t want to move away from home and, as an unsociable girl who would do anything to get out of seeing people outside of school hours, I wasn’t going to be dreaming about all the strangers I would hang around with for hours on end at uni.
What I was excited for … was the food!
The start of university became a food revolution! I ate like there was no tomorrow, at every opportunity, cramming my bag with sandwiches in case I got hungry. My portion sizes were huge so I would eat for 2 on a daily basis with cookies, flapjacks and jam doughnuts as snacks in between.
Nights out consisted of more alcohol than was healthy and was washed down with cookies and crisps when I got home (and I thought I was being good because I’d passed up ‘Chick-O-Land’!)
I’d thought I was invincible and didn’t notice the weight that I was putting on. I remember thinking that I was lucky and, later, that I was bulking out in proportion and I could continue eating and drinking as I did.
It took me until the Easter holidays and a step on the scales at home, to realise that I’d gained a stone! I couldn’t believe it!
So, in light of my own experiences, I’m here to offer my top tips on beating what has been deemed the ‘Freshman 15’.
Why do most students put on 15 lb in their first year of university?
According to an article published in The Mirror, contributing factors include:
- depending on processed foods
- resistance against fruit and vegetables
Add these to late-night eating habits and socials at Sprinkles and you’ve got yourself a recipe for an unhealthy lifestyle.
What can you do?
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent poor eating habits and maintain good health throughout your first year! But it’s never too late to make healthy changes.
1) Go fresh!
Living healthily on a budget is difficult. But there are a few things you should know before your first shop. Certain fruits come with a neat price tag. (Asda does bananas for 67p/kg which is enough for 1 a day for the week.) But shopping at markets will cut the price considerably more than those you’ll find in the supermarket. The university holds a veg market on campus every monday.
2) Make it easy!
No one wants to stand in the kitchen peeling carrots, chopping beans and boiling broccoli for ages after a hectic day at uni. So make it easy! Many supermarkets stock pre-cut vegetables in their fresh aisles that can be cooked whilst you load up your laptop or have a chat. Alternatively, buy frozen vegetables that cook even quicker.
3) Avoid keeping snacks in your room!
Seeing food in your room will only encourage you to eat, even when you’re not hungry. Keep healthy snacks close by and store crisps further away. When a craving calls, we reach for the nearest food. If your unhealthy nibbles are further away, it’s less likely that you’ll be eating them when you’re hungry.
These are just a few tips to keep you going but the most important thing that you can do at uni is find your balance. Settle in, establish a good group of friends, find time to meet your study requirements and take care of yourself!