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Protect Your College Student from Freshman Fat

Tim Boyer's picture
Which has more calories?

College has started and so has the chance that your child will gain 15 pounds this year. Here are some surprising food swaps that can lessen their academic fat.


Which has fewer calories—a jelly donut or that blueberry muffin? It’s not an easy question. However, NBC News Health and Nutrition Editor Madelyn Fernstrom has some surprising answers on which dorm-friendly foods actually have fewer calories to help your college student beat the infamous Freshman 15.

Food Swap #1: Which has fewer calories—a single patty cheeseburger or a large slice of pepperoni pizza?

According to Nutrition Editor Madelyn Fernstrom, the pizza (420 calories) actually has about 100 less fat calories than the cheeseburger (520). However, if your child just has to have that burger, tell them to toss the bun for a 200 calorie cut.

Food Swap #2: Which has fewer calories—a 20-ounce lemonade or a 20-ounce sports drink?

In spite of the beating sports drinks have suffered lately, it turns out that it is a much better choice than the approximately 20 teaspoons of sugar that you can find in a 20-ounce lemonade (300 calories versus 120 in a sports drink).

Food Swap #3: Which has fewer calories—7 Oreo cookies or a similar size brownie?

Ms. Fernstrom picked 7 Oreos over a brownie as a better swap, but one new development in the cookie world is that Oreo recently announced that while three traditional Oreos tally 160 calories, they are now offering a thinner cookie wafer that comes to 140 calories per FOUR cookies.

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Food Swap #4: Which has fewer calories—a jelly donut or that blueberry muffin?

Don’t let that sugar coating on the jelly donut fool you, the blueberry muffin actually has more hidden sugar packed in with what may or may not be real blueberries. Calorie comparison: 270 calories for the jelly donut versus 460 calories for the blueberry muffin.

Food Swap #5: Which has fewer calories—a serving of mac and cheese or a serving of meat chili?'

The beef chili wins by being about 100 calories fewer, but for an even greater calorie savings, turn your child onto the great taste of a vegetarian chili as another alternative swap.

Food Swap #6: Which has fewer calories—tortilla chips or potato chips?

It may not be much, but every little bit helps—the same serving size of tortilla chips is about 50 calories less than that of potato chips.

And because coffee is synonymous with college, here are some more food swaps to help prevent the Freshman 15 with these 3 coffee choices that won't add inches to your waist, plus some Oz-approved fast food menu choices.

Reference: NBC Today (August 21st, 2015) “Beat the Freshmen 15 with these simple food swaps