When September arrives so do the worries about how our children will feed themselves when they're away at school. Raising four children during these times was challenging because I was no longer their "chef." I spent those previous years teaching them how to eat a variety of healthy foods. I mean they couldn't have had a better role model!
But you pray that once they're on their own they will do everything right. It rarely happens. They are living in an "obesogenic" environment. No matter how much we encourage healthy eating habits even the "best students" gain excess weight during their first year. If your child doesn't try to improve their eating habits after their first year, this weight gain may be permanent!
Major Culprits for College Weight Gain:
• Your children are 100 per cent in control of what and when they eat
• Buffet style meals are a landmine for most since there's no visual portion control. The oily, greasy and creamy foods tend to be more appealing than fresh foods
• Lack of exercise and team sports
• Late night studying and snacking which usually consists of salty, sugary and fatty foods
• Excess alcohol which also increases their appetite
• Increased social activity centering around food and alcohol
• Emotional and stress induced eating caused by being away from home, academics and the need to "fit in"
Lasting Effects of the "Freshman 15":
• Poor nutrition consists of low quality foods consisting of excess fat, sugar and salt. Without the complex carbohydrates, good quality fats, low fat dairy, lean protein and loads of fruits and vegetables your children will be left with a lack of energy and concentration
• Excess weight at this age can affect your health for life and lead to chronic and serious diseases such as obesity, diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and certain Cancers
• Universities are offering better choices today. Salad and sandwich bars, grill sections and stir-fries allows one to control what they're adding to their meals
• Learn to balance and decide when you can have a "binge." Giving yourself permission to occasionally indulge may prevent overeating
• Once those pants are getting tight or you've gained at least 3-5 pounds, set the alarm. Making small changes daily will help and start moving!
• Limit the late night snacking so you wake up hungry for a healthy breakfast
• Snack on healthier foods every three hours such as fruits, veggies, cheese cubes, whole grain crackers and plain Greek yogurt
• No fad or extreme diets or cleanses this is artificial weight loss and slows down your metabolism
• Mindful eating which means being aware of knowing when and what you're eating at all times. If you're a "grazer" try having a never ending supply of fruits and vegetables
• Don't drink your calories. Beverages alone can cause major weight gain. Watch those coffee and dairy drinks, fruit juices and sports drinks. Have a steady supply of H2O or low fat milk (chocolate milk is OK!)
• Lack of sleep is associated with weight gain. When you lack energy you tend to eat more high fat foods
• Learn some basic nutrition. Lean protein and whole grains are ideal for weight management
Teaching your children how to prepare for school in terms of eating is one of the greatest challenges you'll ever have. Being a good role model during their formative years is key for success. If you weren't the best role model, it's never too late. Get your children some books on "Nutrition 101" or find them a nutrition group or counsellor if they run into trouble. Be proactive rather than reactive in this battle.
Roasted chickpeas are lower in calories and fat than nuts, but can still fill your salt cravingsand fill you up, too. You can flavor them with any spice you like; this recipe calls for smoked paprika and onion powder, but we also like cinnamon and sugar, or cumin, chili and cayenne. <strong>Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Smoky-Paprika-Baked-Garbanzo-Beans-Recipe" target="_blank">Smoky Paprika-Baked Garbanzo Beans</a></strong>
These coconut muffins may not be quite as rigidly healthy as your standard bran variety, but they're a lot better for you than the cupcakes-disguised-as-muffins found in most convenience stores and cafes. They're made with rye flour, which has a nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with tropical-tasting coconut. <strong>Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Coconut-Muffins-Recipe-Rye-Flour-Recipes" target="_blank">Coconut Muffins</a></strong>
You won't be picking through this party mix for the good stuff -- because everything in it is delicious. Chef Cat Cora uses cereal (such as Cheerios or shredded wheat), pretzels, peanuts and popcorn to make her version of the classic travel snack, and adds wasabi peas for a spicy kick. <strong>Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Party-Mix-Recipe-Cat-Cora" target="_blank">Cat Cora's Party Mix</a></strong>
This moist, just-sweet-enough chocolate-zucchini bread has more than a few healthy ingredients -- sweet potato and yogurt, to name two -- tucked inside, but you'd never know it. Make a loaf the morning before your trip; then, once it's cool, slice and wrap each piece in plastic or foil for on-the-go snacking. <strong>Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Chocolate-Zucchini-Bread-Recipe" target="_blank">Chocolate-Zucchini Bread</a></strong>
Here's the trick to making granola stick to itself in easy-to-pick-up clusters: Combine the oats, nuts and dried fruits (you can adapt the recipe to any taste), and then stir in an egg white that you've whisked in a small bowl until frothy. Spread the granola-egg white mixture in an even layer on foil or parchment-paper-lined rimmed baking sheets and bake. Let cool completely, and then you can break it into whatever size clumps you desire. <strong>Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Classic-Granola-Recipe-How-to-Make-Granola-at-Home" target="_blank">Classic Granola</a></strong>
These brownie-like bars have a virtuous ingredient list, which includes honey, coconut oil, almond butter, almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, goji berries and oats. Individually wrap them and stash one next to a cold drink in your bag, since they taste even better when they're slightly chilled. <strong>Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/No-Bake-Chocolate-Almond-Bars-Recipe" target="_blank">No-Bake Chocolate Almond Bars</a> </strong>
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