We ALL do it. Whether it’s scrolling through the gram, attempting the next level of Candy Crush or watching just one, ok maybe two more episodes on Netflix. With the overwhelming positive benefits that come from getting enough sleep, it’s hard to ignore the fact that screens before bed have many negative effects on your sleep health. Cell phone, computer and television screens all emit a blue light that restricts the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm aka your sleep cycle. This makes falling asleep that much more difficult.
With busy schedules and back to school craziness, getting enough sleep is strenuous enough. The good news is, the key to breaking this bad habit is simple; allow yourself 30 minutes of screen-free time before bed. Read a book, fold some laundry, play with your dog, whatever! Just give your brain some much needed
time to unwind.
Granola and cereal bars are typically a staple in many homes, especially around the start of school. They are an effortless on-the-go snack that take zero effort to prepare. Many appear to be generally healthy with ingredients like baked oats, nuts and dried fruit. Though many do contain whole grains, added sugar outweighs any nutritious ingredients. The lure of granola bars is the quick boost of energy, which is actually a major blood sugar spike that will lead to a sugar crash later. So ditch the granola bar and sub in an equally quick and easy healthy snack, like mixed nuts or fresh fruit.
Fruit snacks are packaged in way that can be very misleading. It’s easy to think that because “fruit” is in the name, they must be in some way healthy. Fruit snacks blur the line between snacks and candy, as you are basically consuming a flavored sugar glob with no nutritional value. So if you’re going for a healthy sweet treat to add to your lunch, try real fruit instead!
Let’s face it, many of us have a nasty soda addiction we’re trying to kick. Loads of sugar and non-caloric sweeteners have so many negative impacts on your health. We all know we should ditch soda, but that can be like trying to quit smoking. It can be an addiction. Instead of quitting soda cold turkey, swap it out for a healthier option. If everyday at 3 pm you find yourself reaching for Diet Coke, grab a flavored sparkling water instead (La Croix will bring you joy).
An eye infection is that last thing anyone needs during back to school month. Using dirty contact cases is one of the main risk factors for contracting eye infections. It’s important to clean your case daily, replace it every three months and always use fresh contact solution.
If germs were visible, Americans would be disgusted by their kitchen sponge. Sponges are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria that may be spreading around your kitchen. Instead, use a washcloth instead. Washcloths are thinner, which significantly reduces bacterial growth.
Plus, you can toss them in the with the laundry every few days.
Coffee creamers are loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as hydrogenated oils, known as trans fats, sugar and artificial additives. Typically, these are thought to be healthier than other natural coffee creamers that may contain more calories and fat. Try swapping it out for a healthier option such as coconut or almond milk.
When packing lunches or an afternoon snack, it’s easy to toss in a bag of potato chips. Who doesn’t love a crispy potato covered in salt? While your tastebuds may love the savory goodness that is a bag of potato chips, your body doesn’t. Potato chips are a bag of empty calories containing artery-clogging trans fats and heart disease-causing sodium. Instead, opt for veggie sticks and hummus for an equally satisfying crunchy snack.
Pop-tarts are another staple for many families on the go. Not only are Pop-tarts a quick, easy breakfast item, they also lure you in with their multitude of flavors. From hot fudge sundae to chocolate fudge, it’s easy to tell why they’re so popular. While Pop-tarts are high in delicious flavor, they are seriously lacking in nutritional value. Pop-tarts contain about 210 calories per pastry, 5 grams of fat, less than 1 gram of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, as well as high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring and zero antioxidants. Being void of any nutritional value, Pop-tarts won’t fully sustain your morning hunger.
But seriously, watch your fingers.