How to Avoid the Freshman 15: College Clean Eating

how to avoid the freshman 15

Start Eating Clean In College

Staying up late, awesome food always available, friends to hang out with 24/7, parties, doing what you want… With so many new experiences in college, it’s no wonder it’s hard to eat clean, live healthily, and avoid the dreaded freshman 15. Check out these simple tips that can point you in the right direction!

Is eating clean in college possible?

College is one of the most exhilarating yet difficult experiences in your life. You have tests, assignments and if you live in a dorm then it is a never-ending hang-out with your friends. There are only two downsides to college.

You never get enough sleep and you can never seem to be able to eat clean and somehow put on weight your freshman year.

We dub this freshman weight gain as the “Freshman 15” for the average weight a freshman packs on is 15 pounds. Not a pretty picture is it? To combat this weight gain, most people figure (also the most common advice out there) is that they need to incorporate gym time into their extremely busy schedule.

Avoid the Freshman 15 Eating Clean in College While a gym is good for you, not everybody in college will have easy access to one or the time to dedicate one straight hour to a gym. Also, you do not really need a gym session to get a good workout in; you can work out at home without any special equipment while getting a good challenge.

The most important part of healthy living is eating clean. The diet makes up 70% of your fitness goals. Exercise not combined with a proper diet will never get you the intended results.

So how can you eat clean in college? One of the best diet plans to follow in college is the “Paleo Diet”.

And to make it clear from the get-go, eating clean is not easy with the strenuous hectic experience of schedule. So before we delve into the specifics of the Paleo Diet plan, we have to talk about the goal.

The goal in college is to eat good, not perfect. Sticking to a diet 100 percent of the time is almost impossible for anyone.

Understanding the Paleo Diet

This diet is all about re-creating the diet of our cave-dwelling ancestors. So you will be eating meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and natural oils. Grains and processed foods such as sugar and grease are not part of the Paleo diet.

So keeping in line with the Paleo diet you can have the following foods as they are quite close to the diet’s principles and yet easy to obtain:

  • Meats: Chicken is easy on the wallet and low in cholesterol. You can also have beef, but the Paleo diet insists on grass-fed beef which is more expensive. So get beef sometimes and focus mainly on chicken. Plus, chicken is also very easy to cook. Fish is also expensive but get a little of it now and then. Farmed fish is cheaper but it lacks nutritional value.
  • Eggs: They are one of the best sources of protein that you can have. They are full of protein and contain essential minerals like choline and selenium. Plus, they are easy to make and keep hunger at bay for quite a long while.
  • Vegetables: Most of us avoid vegetables as children and unfortunately carry this habit well into adulthood. However, they have excellent nutritional value, and eating a small serving makes you feel much fuller with the cost of very few calories.
  • Avoid the Freshman 15 Eating Clean in College FoodFruits: They have excellent nutritional value and can serve as dessert.
  • Water and tea: Soft drinks and energy drinks are laced with unhealthy calories. Water is the best solution for hydrating yourself. And if water does not suffice, tea is a good low-calorie option. Try to keep the sugar at a bare minimum.
  • White rice: You are not supposed to eat grains as part of the Paleo diet but every college student faces budget constraints. So it can be eaten now and then.


Look, eating clean can be hard for anyone, but when you are in college it can be incredible difficult.

While for the most part you are younger and have a higher metabolism, you also have new life experiences in front of you that put eating clean on the back burner!

Just remember your main food groups, be conscious of moderation and you can still have a blast while being healthy!

Zyana Morris is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger who loves to write about prevailing trends. She is a featured author at various authoritative blogs in the health and fitness industry and currently working for Centra Care Florida, a Tampa urgent care provider. Follow @ZyanaMorris for more.
Zyana Morris