Avoiding the Freshman 15: How to eat healthy in college

By Kylie Widseth

We’ve all probably heard of the Freshman 15 and the crazy fad diets that will help you lose 15 pounds over the course of a week. Maybe that’s a little crazy, but I’m sure you’ve heard it all.

Now, I would argue that I lost 15 pounds in the first few weeks of college because I knew how to make maybe one meal, and I was always too embarrassed and shy to actually go to my floor’s kitchen to make anything. I was so afraid of interrupting someone else’s mealtime.

I didn’t have a meal plan my freshman year, and I haven’t had one since. For me, that really worked. I couldn’t stand the dining hall food on campus, so my only option was to buy food of my own.

shutterstock_133259828Eating on a budget can be kind of difficult, but overall I’ve made it work. My most important tip of all is to never shop while hungry because you’ll end up buying anything that looks even mildly appealing. You find yourself purchasing food that you know you will never eat but because you’re starving, you buy it anyway. It’s also important to really rationalize with yourself if you’re going to eat the item before it goes bad. This is especially important with fruits and vegetables. If you won’t eat it before it expires or go bad try to determine if there is someway you could use the item in a meal.

It’s very beneficial to eat foods that are natural instead of processed. Processed food typically involves a lot of added sugars and artificial colors. The added colors of these foods lead people to be drawn into eating them. Natural foods are best, which essentially include anything that isn’t altered from the moment you buy it to the moment you eat it. These include things like fruits, vegetables, etc.

shutterstock_144537737One of the biggest debates I run into at the grocery store is whether to buy organic or conventional groceries. The big draw to organic food is due to the fact that these foods don’t contain the pesticides that conventional groceries do. Overall, organic foods are more environmentally friendly, but they can also be more expensive. It’s ultimately a choice of preference; there is no wrong option. My advice would be to buy your favorite fruits and vegetables organically and buy the regular for all other produce.

I’ve never personally tried it, but I’ve always been intrigued by the monthly subscription boxes that include prepackaged items to make specific meals. Healthy eating is even keeping up with today’s fast-moving society. The one I’ve seen most often is HelloFresh. HelloFresh is a weekly subscription where customers can choose a select number of meals to receive each week. This can be a good option for families, but they also have options for individuals or even two people. This can be a really good program for people who don’t have time to grocery shop or it can help people start to learn how to eat healthy. Each week, the company sends all the ingredients you need for a specific meal along with a recipe card. You can choose the meals you want to receive or they can customize a meal plan for you.


Some benefits of healthy eating include a longer life span, higher appeal (there are studies that show that eating healthier makes your more attractive), and sleeping better. Arguably, I would say that sleeping better is probably one of the most important benefits because all college kids love to sleep. It’s just a known fact.

Don’t worry if you aren’t always eating healthy 24/7/365, you are allowed to splurge from time to time. We all get cravings, and we all have our cheat food. The important thing is just that you maintain a healthy mindset, and do your best to be thinking healthy the next time you find yourself at the grocery store.


For more information on how to eat healthy and cook healthy while in college, check out our book here!




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