Oct 4, 2006

Dorm-Room Diet

Whether you're facing them now or you gained them years ago, you can still deep-six the Freshman 15 with these nutrition tips from Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R. D., author of The F-Factor Diet.

Always eat breakfast! Yeah, it's the most important meal of the day. Yada, yada, yada. The real reason you need it, though, is that an early a.m. meal jump-starts your metabolism for the day and gives you the energy needed to get through a full day of work or classes. The best-and fastest-options? The old standbys: whole-wheat toast with peanut butter or a bowl of high-fiber cereal with skim milk.
America's Fittest & Fattest Colleges 2005

Go green. Or red. Or blue. If three of your main food groups are pizza, burgers, and fries, it's time to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your meal plan. No matter what else you're eating during any given meal, try to get in at least one serving of salad, steamed vegetables, or fresh fruit. Besides helping fill you up-and limit the amount of other crap you devour-it'll give you a healthy, metabolism-boosting dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Unplug your microwave. Easy Mac, ramen noodles, and frozen TV dinners may be cheap, quick, and easy to make-but they're also some of the worst things you can eat. Instead, when you need a meal in a hurry, make a sandwich on whole-wheat bread and hold the mayo. It's just as cheap and easy to make, but it's significantly better for you-and your abs.

Plan your indulgences. Don't let yourself ever get so famished you end up resorting to the vending machine or drive-thru. Instead, stock your apartment, office, or dorm room with healthier snacking options such as trail mix, jerky, light microwave popcorn, string cheese, baked tortilla chips, and whole-wheat pretzels.

Drink (more) responsibly. Stick to light beers and low-carb cocktails, such as rum and diet cola or a vodka tonic. Or check with MF every month for our low-cal Drink of the Month.

Get more shut-eye. Pulling all-nighters can put a damper on your energy level and your fitness. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that partial sleep deprivation causes an increase in appetite and a preference for calorie-dense, high-carb foods.

Skip the Starbucks. Many late-night cram sessions are fueled with a cup of Joe-hell, more like a pot. While plain black coffee only has 10 calories, be careful not to load up on Frappuccinos and Machiatos, which can have as much as 600 calories! If you must have a bit of extra flavor, order a skim latte, which has about one-sixth of those calories per cup.

Avoid late-night snacking. A study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting found that eating between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. accounted for up to 20% of most twenty-somethings' daily calorie intake. The damage? For every 100 calories consumed during one of those regular midnight binges, the researchers say you can expect to gain an average of a quarter pound of weight-or more.