How to avoid the dreaded freshman 15

For many college students when it comes to food, convenience is king.

Instead of exploring the different options of a balanced diet it is often fast food, rather than a healthy salad, that attracts the average student. The importance of nutrition is often encouraged among students because a healthy diet is crucial when it comes to studying, and test taking. Taking that dreaded final or preparing for a big presentation may become easier with the help of a balanced diet.

NSU understands the importance of diet and nutrition. Dr. Marilyn Gordon, a certified specialist in sports dietetics and a licensed dietician/ nutritionist who works on the main campus, believes that nutrition is essential to the productivity of a college student.

“Our nutritional state will determine our state of alertness, memory, and also immune function,” said Gordon. “Good nutrition can certainly improve mental and physical functioning. Your brain loves glucose which comes from the breakdown of the carbohydrates found in fruit, milk, breads, cereals, rice, pasta and vegetables.”

Questions and Answers with Dr. Gordon:

For students who may not know, what is “The freshman 15”?

“The ‘freshman 15’ is the fear of any freshman college student. It is that 15-pound weight gain in the first year that can result from living away from home for the first time. The college student now has an unstructured schedule with newly found freedoms. That includes staying up late and eating a fourth meal at, let’s say, 2 a.m.”

What are the best ways for students to fight the ‘freshman 15’?

“Try to keep a schedule, always eating breakfast, scheduling meals no more than 5-6 hours apart, and planning for healthy snacks such as fruit, yogurt, cereal bar, or hummus with veggies. Watch out for the ‘liquid calories’ from flavored coffees, soda, alcohol, and excessive juice consumption.”

Can you give three key nutrition tips that every student should live by?

“I would have to say eat breakfast or a first meal within one hour of waking up. Secondly, run off of the fuel of food and not caffeine and try to eat two fruits and the equivalent of three cups of vegetables every day.”

Why is working out and staying active not enough for a healthy lifestyle?

“Being active and working out is one component of a healthy lifestyle, but not sufficient alone. It must be combined with healthy food choices: fruits, vegetables, fresh salads, lean chicken, fish and seafood, lean red meats, whole grain rice and pasta and the ‘good’ fats: olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado.”

If you are interested in the nutritional services that are offered by Dr. Gordon contact the Student Medical Center at (954) 262-1270, a physician referral is required.

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