How to Beat the Freshman 15

Choose foods packed with vitamins and minerals.

“Freshman 15” originally referred to the typical number of credit hours a full-time college student takes each semester. But pop culture also claims it’s the number of pounds college co-eds gain their first year away from home.

The Freshman 15 IS real. Research shows about 70 percent of students gain weight between the start of college and their sophomore year – but the good news is the “Freshman 15” has lost weight. In reality it is more like the “Freshman 8.” But whether it’s 8 or 15 pounds, it’s the same factor contributing to the obesity epidemic among all Americans – a small increase in daily calories causes significant weight gain over time. 

 College freshmen flunk when it comes to good nutrition. Results from a recent Tufts study show students should get an “F” in eating enough fruits or vegetables, a “D” in eating enough fiber-rich grains and a “C” in consuming enough calcium. On average college students consume only half of the recommended servings of dairy each day.  To make the dean’s list, freshmen must make nutrient-rich foods a priority.

 Many factors can tip the scales:

  • Like hectic schedules
  • Social eating
  • All-you-can-eat meal plans
  • The biggest culprit may be late night snacking. One study found that, on average, freshmen take in about 500 extra calories between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.  For late night snacks, I recommend sliced fruit and cheese, yogurt topped with sliced almonds or whole grain cereal with fat-free milk.  

 Stocking up the dorm room: Undergrads should stock up on these fridge favorites: baby carrots and celery, hummus, string cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt, drinkable smoothies, water, pudding, low-fat and fat-free milk and lean sandwich meat.  These are healthy snacks perfect for the on-the-go student, and many come in single serve options that can be packed for class. 

 Students can fuel up between meals or for late night study sessions with easy grab- and- go healthy snacks such as:

  • Animal crackers
  • Canned fruit
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Granola bars
  • High fiber cereal (portioned boxes)
  • Nuts or seeds (pumpkin, almonds, sunflower, walnuts, pistachio)
  • Popcorn (light or fat-free)
  • Tuna fish
  • Trail mix
  • Pudding
  • Oatmeal
  • Reduced fat peanut butter
  • Whole grain crackers

               These snacks can be mailed in a surprise care package to hungry freshman.

For good health, college students need to exercise at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week.  It’s easy to include fitness in college life with these five tips. 

  • Walk or bike to class
  • Go for a walk with friends
  • Take a fitness class as a course.
  • Check out the college gym or wellness center.
  • Join an intramural sport.

 In addition to eating nutrient-rich foods and exercising regularly, freshmen can prevent packing on the pounds by:

  • Making Time for Meals
  • Don’t Skip Breakfast
  • Get Plenty of Sleep

 Eating nutrient-rich foods, including low-fat and fat-free dairy, and exercising regularly can help students beat the dreaded “Freshman 15!”

Celebration Around the Globe – World School Milk Day

By Mary Nicholson

There is only one beverage that brings children together from all around the world to celebrate…milk!  Wednesday, September 28th marks the 12th annual World School Milk Day (WSMD) promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.  World School Milk Day provides a chance for children around the world to learn about making healthy beverage choices and increases their knowledge about cultures around the world.  Launched in 2000, the day is used to promote the importance of drinking milk at school to children in a fun and educational way. The goal of World School Milk Day is to celebrate school milk on one day of the year at the same time all across the world.

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Are You Ready for National Chocolate Milk Day?

By Mary Nicholson

Now, I really like milk, and I’m crazy about chocolate, but who knew there was an entire day on the calendar for celebrating the two?  I’m talking about National Chocolate Milk Day, which this year happens to fall on Tuesday, September 27- tomorrow.  What a yummy day!

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Racing for Chocolate Milk

By Kimmi Devaney

Fall is here, and it’s time to kick the running up a notch—races are just around the corner! This time of year is great. The weather has finally cooled down enough that I don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. to squeeze in a long run before it gets too hot.

Speaking of long runs, endurance is key for ensuring top performance on race day. Make sure you fit plenty of longer runs into your schedule to balance the speed work. During my cross country days, our coach always made us do strides—short 100 meter sprints—after our training runs. I never understood why, but they really work. Strides help improve your kick at the end of the race.

Let’s talk about the end of the race. No matter the distance, you will likely be tired. Just breathe, and remind yourself of all the hard work you’ve put into training for this race. Don’t slow down now! I always tell myself, “Just five more minutes—you can do ANYTHING for five minutes!” That usually makes it a little easier.

After you cross the finish line, you’ll want to refuel your tired muscles. While there are always plenty of sports drink options at races, nothing beats chocolate milk. I started drinking chocolate milk after my long runs in high school. I think that was around the time that the first research came out about the benefits of chocolate milk as an effective recovery beverage after exercise. Before that, I used to grab one of the “traditional” sports drinks, but while it replenished lost fluid and electrolytes, it didn’t do much else. Chocolate milk has just the right combination of carbohydrates and protein to fuel your muscles and fill you up.

Did I mention that milk is 87 percent water? That’s right, so it is an EXCELLENT way to rehydrate. The remaining 13 percent contains protein, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients to help refuel your body after a tough workout or race.

It’s time to channel your excitement and put all that training to work as you race for a new personal record. I’m running a 5k tomorrow! I’m pretty excited. After I cross the finish line and catch my breath, it’s not Gatorade I’ll be reaching for—it’s chocolate milk.

Here’s to another great racing season!

Happy National Pecan Cookie Day!

I know for many Americans the pecan cookie is a favorite.  For those that prefer sweets on the saltier side, pecans transform cookies into a salty/sweet masterpiece. The native American nut provides a pleasant, textural crunch as well as rich buttery flavor to any variety of baked goods. Pecan cookies are great because there are so many different recipes for these delicious cookies.

You will be happy to know that indulging in a pecan cookie does have some nutritional benefits.

Natural antioxidants in pecans: Pecans contain different forms of the antioxidant vitamin E, known as tocopherols.

Healthy benefits for the heart: Nearly 60 percent of the fats in pecans are monounsaturated and another 30 percent are polyunsaturated, leaving very little saturated fat in pecans. Monounsaturated fats are heart-healthy fats that help lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol.

Pecans are nutrient dense: Pecans contains several vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, several B vitamins and zinc. Pecans are also a natural, high-quality source of protein that contains no cholesterol.

Top it off with milk. Drinking a glass of milk with a sweet treat will enhance your nutrition intake. Eight ounces of milk contains nine essential nutrients and a third of the calcium you need a day.

So raise your glass (of milk) and toast to National Pecan Cookie Day!

Georgia Pecan Chocolate Cookies  (Recipe provided by Georgia Pecans)

Makes 2 Dozen


  • 8-oz. sweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s
  • 3/4 cup Georgia pecan pieces


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl placed in a skillet of hot but not boiling water, melt the butter and chocolate. Be careful NOT to splash any water into the chocolate or it will be ruined. Set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until fluffy and then beat in the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, very slowly. This should take about 4 minutes. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together. Fold this into the beaten eggs. Fold in the chocolate, then the pecans and Jack Daniel’s. Drop by the teaspoonful on a buttered baking sheet 2 inches apart- these cookies do spread. Bake for 3 minutes on the middle rack until the cookies are shiny and puffed. Cool and store in an air tight container until ready to serve later the same day.

National Talk Like A Pirate Day – Get Yer Dairy!


Why is this day so different? Because it is “National Talk Like a Pirate Day!” Do we REALLY need this day?  We do. Talking like a pirate is fun and a change from your daily routine. It’s simple and the silliness this holiday brings is its best-selling point. Watch this video for a laugh AND some nutrition info!


Squashed Macaroni & Cheese

By Diane Ruyack

When temperatures begin to drop, nothing hits the spot like comfort foods. As your family gears up for a season full of fun and festivities, you will want your kids to eat better and be healthier. Eating dinner together is a challenge between work schedules and after school activities. It is tough to get the whole family around the table all the time. But even if you can’t do it every day, make a point of it as often as possible. Kids who eat with their families regularly have better nutrition, do better in school, have a greater vocabulary and are less likely to adopt bad habits.  When I think of fall, I think of harvesting squash and pumpkins, apples, etc. Acorn or butternut, pumpkin or spaghetti, winter squash is naturally sweet, versatile, easy to cook, and incredibly good for you. Each bite delivers a fork-full of potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Just one cup of baked butternut squash provides more potassium than a medium banana! Simply roast squash with a little oil and a touch of brown sugar for a rich and easy side dish. Puree it and serve it instead of potatoes or add the puree to broth for a velvety thick soup. Choose squash that are firm, fairly heavy for their size, and have bright, glossy exteriors.

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