Freshman 15 ring a bell?

Noor Ashouri

Eighty-four percent of college students said they drank within the last year, according to a survey administered by the Century Council, an organization striving to reduce drunk driving and underage drinking in the US.A study done by the Social Science Quarterly journal found that the average college student also reported weight gain of at least a few pounds in the first year. Could there be a bit of a correlation between the two facts? Possibly.

Many college students go out and get hammered without considering what alcohol is doing to their bodies.

Photo by Randy Rataj / Spinnaker
Before you do, consider if this is how you’d like to spend your calories.

According to a study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, men in their 20s and 30s consume 175 calories of alcohol daily. So let’s do the math. Consuming 175 calories every day of the week means 4,900 calories a month. Adding that many consumed calories to one’s suggested caloric intake would result in 1.4 pounds of weight gain of a month. Spread over a year, thats almost 17 pounds! Apparently, beer bellies aren’t a myth, as some guys like to convince themselves.

And ladies, don’t think you’ve escaped these numbers. Women in their 20s and 30s ingest 60 calories of alcohol a day. Skipping the math, you find yourself almost 6 pounds heavier than you were the year before.So what is the solution to all of this? I have a simple answer: food.

Choose your calories to actually satisfy your hunger. Beer doesn’t fill you up the way food does, and it’s likely you won’t even remember sipping that beer the next day. An average beer has 150 calories. Let’s see what else we could do with those 150 calories.

Seven Hershey’s dark chocolate Kisses

Break the stereotype you have in your head of chocolate being evil. We all need it, and dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants. Antioxidants can fight potential damage to your cells, helping to prevent chronic disease. The antioxidant benefit is a perfect excuse, and yes: all seven Kisses equate to almost 150 calories. An alternative way to take your dose of Kisses would be melting and drizzling them on strawberries. A cup of strawberries will you give you almost all the vitamin C you need for one day — that’s what I call a winning combination.

Apple and peanut butter

A tablespoon of peanut butter will provide you with monounsaturated fats that help you satiate your hunger, and half of an apple provides you with almost 9 percent of your prescribed fiber for the day. Fiber is a wonderful nutrient that helps keep you full for longer. And yes, this combination comes to a little under 150 calories.

Nuts

Speaking of monounsaturated fats (the good fat!), a quarter cup of almonds, cashews, or pistachios ranges from 150 to 200 calories. These nuts are one of the highest sources of protein in the plant food category.

Popcorn

No, I’m not talking about the triple layered butter-bowl you get at movie theatres, where the butter is practically bleeding through the cardboard container. I’m talking about microwavable popcorn. Simple enough, no? Depending on the brand, three cups of this light delight provides roughly 3.5 grams of dietary fiber.

I am in no way saying you should never have a beer ever again. I recognize the active role it plays in the life of college students. But, three beers into a night, skipping a fourth in favor of an above option wouldn’t be the worse thing you ever did.

And for those of you who insist on getting buzzed, perhaps light beer is a formidable alternative.