See the surprising ways your own house hurts your health

Busy schedules and screens can butt in to dinnertime. That isn’t good for your crew’s health. Kids have better eating habits and teens are less likely to take part in risky behaviour when mealtime is a family affair. Everyone benefits when you carve out time to sit at the table together.

How big are your dishes?

Did you know your plate size can affect your waist size? It’s true — studies show that when people use larger bowls and plates, they fill them up. That means they eat more than they need. Try this simple switch at mealtime: Put healthy foods on bigger plates and less healthy foods on smaller ones. You’ll satisfy your hunger with more nutrients and less junk.

Do you do leftovers right?

Eating them is a great way to get the most meal for your buck, but be sure you store them safely. Refrigerate leftover food right away in an airtight container to keep bacteria from setting up shop. Reheat in microwave-safe or oven-safe glass or ceramic (not plastic). Get food hot all the way through. Check for cold spots, so germs scram before you swallow.

Too many screens in your bedroom?

Like to surf the Net before sleep, or drift off to a flickering TV? That can rob you of high-quality sleep. Light from electronic gadgets turns on the wakeful parts of your brain. This can make it harder to nod off. And the shut-eye you do get is often less restful.

Is your mattress just right?

Do you wake up stiff and sore in the morning? Your mattress might be to blame. Not everyone needs a firm surface for sleep. Your body will tell you what’s best. Replace your mattress after about 8 years, and pick up new pillows if yours are shapeless or lumpy.

Can you find your first-aid kit?

When minor injuries or illnesses strike, it’s good to have the right treatment on hand. Pick up a pre-stocked first-aid kit from your local pharmacy and read up on everything inside. Talk to your doctor about other items you might add. Put your kit somewhere you can get to easily (but kids can’t). Restock anything you use and any expired items.

How do you store your makeup?

Whether you wear it every day or pull it out for special occasions, make sure it’s germ-free. Store it in a cool, dry place, and always wash your hands before you apply. Try to avoid touching makeup in its container. Don’t add water or saliva. And don’t share with your friends.

Is your bathroom moldy?

When your space isn’t well-ventilated, mold can set up shop, fast. It causes all kinds of health problems, from nose and throat irritation to infection. Send steam from your shower outside with a fan or open window. Clean up with mold-fighting products, and never install carpet on your bathroom floor.

Are your shoes ready for a workout?

Your body needs about 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week to stay healthy. But if you don’t have the right shoes, you can bring on new aches and pains. A sports specialty store can set you up with the right kicks for your activity level and style. Don’t believe the break-in myth. Shoes should be comfy from the moment you put them on.

Does your decor help you think?

Your wall colour can help you get stuff done. Red, for example, can help you with detail-oriented tasks, like chopping vegetables and measuring ingredients. Choose blue for an area like a study or craft room to boost your creativity.

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