3 ways to avoid the dreaded freshman 15

Though it likely feels like you just graduated from high school - it's getting closer to the time you'll be packing up, leaving home and starting your first semester away at college. It's an amazing time - you finally have freedom to do what you want, but going away to college is the culprit behind the dreaded Freshman 15. I'm sure you've heard of this - and the best way to prevent packing on weight your first year in college is to stick to healthy eating and activity.

Your first semester at college will be stressful. It's probably the first time you've been away from home, you have to meet all new people and professors, and you need to get used to a college-level study load on top of working. Pair that with the freedom, parties and social life and it's a recipe for gaining weight. Here are a few ways you can avoid coming home on Christmas break 15 pounds heavier:

Walk - If you go to school on a large campus, you're in luck! Burn off excess calories between classes by walking instead of taking a shuttle or driving to the closet parking lot. Get outside, breathe in fresh air and clear your mind as you get to your next class. The activity will give you a boost of energy and mental clarity - not to mention you'll burn calories. One exception: don't walk alone at night or through dark areas on campus.

Don't go crazy - Mom never let you store boxes of cookies or chips in your room at home, so why start now? Avoid buying it and bringing it back to your dorm or apartment; if you don't have it, there won't be any temptation. Save the junk food for special occasions or when you really need a quick bite - otherwise, keep healthier options in your mini-fridge.

Limit fast food - Sure, it's easy to go through the drive-thru between work and classes, but fast food is one of the leading causes of the Freshman 15. Instead, have lunch on campus - many cafeterias offer salad bars or a variety of food for cheap and you have more options when it comes to healthy food. Limit fast food to only once a week - or avoid the high calorie meals all together and enjoy a nicer meal out with friends on the weekend.

The Freshman 15 is all too real, but you're not doomed to packing on weight just because it's the first time you're going away to college. Be prepared and make healthy choices to keep your physique in top shape!

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