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Bethenny Frankel on How to Avoid the Freshman 15

Bethenny Frankel on how to avoid gaining weight in college aka the Freshman 15When you’re in college—or really, at any time in your life when you’re thrown into a new environment or stressful situation—it can be difficult to eat well. Skinnygirl founder and reality star Bethenny Frankel shows how to make healthy choices without dieting or giving up your favorite foods. From A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life.

Turn the “freshman fifteen” (or the “midlife fifteen”?) into a myth with these three principles:
1. Stock that tiny little refrigerator and small kitchen of yours with fun yet healthy snacks. Some good ideas include:

  • Handful of raw nuts and dried fruit
  • Hummus or nut butter on whole-grain bread
  • Frozen edamame (most supermarkets sell it now)
  • Whole-grain pretzels with a small piece of cheese
  • Sliced turkey with a bit of mustard (excellent high-protein snack)
  • Natural meal bars (I’m not a fan of these in general, but there are a few great ones—choose the ones with ingredients that you can pronounce)
  • Canned or boxed all-natural soups (good comfort food and easily prepared in a microwave)
  • Salty snacks like Popchips, soy chips, baked chips, and salsa
  • Fresh fruit
  • Greek yogurt, instant Irish oatmeal, and Kashi Good Friends cereal (add fruit and a bit of sweetener for a great snack or breakfast)
  • Half of a sandwich
  • A small portion of anything you are craving

2. Don’t diet. Don’t deprive yourself. If you want pizza, have it, but just have one slice, and add veggies if possible. Even better, first eat a salad with vinaigrette (skip the cheese—you chose the pizza), or a bowl of vegetable soup. Fill up on good stuff first. The key is to pick your battles. Hamburger? Great. Eat half the bun and forgo the cheese if possible. Turkey burgers are fine, but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re “diet food.” Burger rules still apply. Veggie burgers are a good choice; Boca Burger makes good ones. With low-fat cheese on a whole-grain English muffin, it’s a great choice.

3. Cut back on portions. As I said in Naturally Thin, cancel your membership to the clean plate club, and remember that you can have it all—just not all at once. Because there aren’t always the healthiest options at colleges, don’t deprive yourself… but don’t overindulge, either. Understand that nothing in small portions is fattening, so you can have more of a good investment choice or less of a bad one. From now on, through the rest of your life, you will be faced with choices. Make the right ones for you.

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