Heading off to college is an exciting time for most. Jumping the nest and finally escaping the prying eyes of your parents and siblings, you are now free to do as you please on the day-to-day (when you’re not in class of course).
Unfortunately, with great freedom comes a potential downside, the freshman 15. That is the average weight gain reported by college students during their transition from living at home to living on their own or in a dorm room.
How to Avoid the Freshman 15?
Although we don’t always listen to our parents most of us have been living with a set of rules that are required to maintain peace in the household. Without those rules, we are forced to learn how to adult all on our own. This, along with increased stress caused by our studies has been known to impact our waistline, on average by about 15 pounds. So, how can we avoid this freshman 15?
Whether you are living in a college dorm or an apartment with roommates, you are now in charge of your grocery list, potentially for the first time ever. With this, many are tempted to grab for all their guilty pleasure treat foods they couldn’t always get at home. Or perhaps you don’t know how to cook so you are opting for frozen meals and other convenience foods.
With the rise of Netflix-and-Chill, many college students are spending extended time in front of the tv with a handful of snacks. These snacks are one of the biggest causes of those extra pounds we didn’t even realize we were packing on until it was too late.
Although tempting, swap out those highly processed snack foods for whole-food substitutions whenever you can. This means putting back that box of donuts and grabbing for some fruit instead. This is the most effective way at preventing that dreaded uptick in the scale.
5 Healthier Snack Options When Watching Netflix
When looking for healthier, but still tasty snack options for your next Netflix binge, think lower calories, high protein snack options. This is going to give you the most bang for your buck. Not only will the higher protein help to keep you satisfied with eating less, but the lower calories help to prevent excess weight gain. Below is a list of 5 lower-calorie, high-protein snack ideas to consider.
1. An Apple with String Cheese
Vitamins, minerals, and fiber from the fruit and protein and calcium from the cheese can help to fuel you until your next meal at less than 150 calories per serving. Not into apples? Not to worry. Feel free to grab any fruit you prefer, and you will still get similar results. The key to this snack duo is to combine a carbohydrate (the fruit) with a protein source (the cheese) to keep your blood sugar balanced and your appetite satiated until your next meal.
2. Protein Cookies
You might see cookies on this list and think “well that doesn’t sound healthy” but something like this chocolate chip protein cookie from Naked Nutrition is the perfect Netflix binge snack when you want something sweet.
Packed with 10 grams of high-quality protein, 200 calories per cookie, and only 1 gram of sugar per serving, these cookies are a breath of fresh, healthy air. Naked cookies are available in chocolate chip, sugar cookie, or oatmeal raisin varieties.
3. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is an underrated snack hero. Rich in protein and iron, this salty snack will keep you feeling stuffed without over-stuffing your face. Be sure to choose the lower sodium and lower sugar option. This means to opt-out of the teriyaki brands and those that are heavily seasoned with marinades.
4. Low Sugar Greek Yogurt Parfait with Fruit
Another sweet tooth option is a fresh fruit parfait with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is packed full of protein, calcium, and probiotics that treat your gut right. Add a couple of spoonfuls of low sugar granola and some fresh fruit and you have a delightful, sweet treat that won’t pack on the pounds.
5. Roasted Chickpeas
If you’ve never tried chickpeas roasted, you are missing out. These crunchy, salty legumes are packed full of fiber and protein that will keep you feeling full while tasting like indulgent snack food. Try your hand at making your own by seasoning some chickpeas with a little olive oil and spices or you can purchase ready-made ones at your local grocery store.
With these snacks on hand, you can enjoy a Netflix binge without binge snacking. Full, satisfied, and guilt-free all while avoiding the dreaded freshman 15. This common boost in weight is most often attributed to frequently snacking on highly processed foods which most are guilty of during their downtime. If you can swap for something better, you’ll notice the difference in your waistline and your stress levels. Tackle those tough college midterms with nutrient-packed snacks and say sayonara to those extra pounds.