How College Kids Gain That 'Freshman 15'

A review of the top 10 party foods kids are ordering late at night

Don't party too hard, you could be in danger of gaining the "Freshman 15."

Ah, the freedom of collegiate life. For new dorm-room dwellers, the world has now become their proverbial oyster. This initial taste of freedom is intoxicating, and there are no parents within miles to tell them what to do. Unfortunately, this also means stepping into the world of serious decision-making, and part of that is maintaining a healthy diet on their own.

Click here to see How College Kids Gain That 'Freshman 15'

By examining a school-year-worth of order data from current students at more than 350 college campuses, the online ordering site GrubHub’s analysts uncovered that students are about 28 percent less likely to place "healthier" orders than the average diner. They also discovered that students are about 87 percent more likely to order late-night meals (10 p.m. to 2 a.m.) than the average diner. This really isn’t a surprising find, considering students push their bodies to the limit trying to maintain a school and social balance. Combine that with a low cash flow, and some bad decisions are bound to be made when it comes to dieting.

In addition to GrubHub’s time analysis, the analysts were able to break down the orders placed — and it isn’t pretty. Unfortunately, and maybe obviously, this is what contributes to the dreaded "Freshman 15." Nutritionist Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS, reviewed the list and noted that the students' favorites were high in fat, salt, and sugar content and pretty heavily caloric. 

"Sometimes I think the freshman 15 is mostly about kids learning to manage their food choices for the first time," Reinagel says. "It's kind of fun to have no one telling you what you can and can't eat. But then you find out that eating anything and everything you want eventually catches up to you."

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In an effort to understand where the Freshman 15 may actually come from, we took a look at the caloric value of GrubHub’s late-night dishes via listed chain restaurants and rounded up the most popular dishes. Check out the list to see if you are guilty of these late-night munchies faux pas.