Don't have coffee — and only coffee — for breakfast
So, you're running late for work and you manage to guzzle down a cuppa before heading into your first a.m. meeting. Fast forward to mid-day and your stomach is growling and you realize that — whoops! — you completely forgot to eat breakfast and now it's past lunchtime. Though drinking coffee is healthy, Adina Pearson, RD, says that because coffee can suppress your appetite and is a stimulant, some people use it as a meal replacement. "Coffee's stimulant properties may mask the fact you're undereating, but it's only temporary. Good self-care means eating enough — not just being buzzed. You can't run on caffeine because you need food — carbs, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, and fiber — for overall health."
Figure out if you really like coffee
Do you remember the first time you had a cup of coffee? More likely than not, you were in college and cramming for a final and your roommate suggested brewing up a batch. It might have been love at first sip, or you could have stomached your way through it, hoping it'd help you ace your test. Either way, now that you're older (and hopefully, wiser), Pearson says to make sure you actually like coffee or if you're using it as a band-aid to your poor sleep habits.
"Coffee is a pick-me-up, but working toward a normal sleep pattern will make life much better than caffeine. If you're using coffee to survive on inadequate sleep, your body and mind are still tired and you'll still not be at your best physically and mentally," she explains. "Chronic inadequate sleep raises stress hormones and contributes to a lot of health problems."
Top it off with cinnamon
Next time you make coffee with one of our single serve coffee pods top it off with cinnamon, take advantage and give your health a boost. Swinney says that cinnamon can make your beverage even better for you, thanks to its antioxidant properties, not to mention a slew of other benefits.
"Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar in many clinical studies. Adding spices add antioxidants and sweetness without calories, helping to cut back on the sugar you might add to coffee. Cloves have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties," she explains.
Use filtered water only
You might think that since we boil water to brew coffee, you don't have to worry whether it's filtered. But Swinney says filtered water is a smart choice, if not for taste, but for health. "Filtered water ensures there are not any unwanted heavy metals like lead or copper, that might be found in old pipes. Tap water also contains many chlorine disinfection byproducts which can be harmful in the long term," she says. "You should also avoid using well water unless it's been tested for contaminants."
Make lattes at home, not at Starbucks
When you've ordered a latte or a cappuccino at Starbucks, you've probably watched as the barista wipes down the steamer before whipping up a new cup. This is meant to fight bacteria, but you may be getting something extra in your drink that you probably don't want.
"What you don't realize is that sanitizing solution ends up in your frothed milk! It's not a ton, but it is there — a small amount on that wand for every frothed carafe! So avoiding lattes is a good choice if that concerns you," Immer says. Or just prepare yours at home to make sure you're not getting more than you bargained for.
Use your Keurig machine wisely
Switch from using single serve plastic pods to single serve compostable coffee pods. Not only do you expose yourself to plastic that's been heated, you also add to environmental waste by using plastic pods. You can buy single serve coffee pods that are compostable from SingleJoCoffee.com. We have a wide selection of K-Cup Compatible Compostable pods which reduce the waste without compromising the taste.
Skip syrups and go organic
You might think that nonfat, sugar-free vanilla syrup is a healthy choice, but low-calorie doesn't always translate to health benefits. Swinney suggests weaning yourself off sweeteners completely if you can, but if you can't, be super picky about the additives you're putting into your brew. "Pick organic cream to whiten your coffee or make your own packaging-free alternative milk from oats or nuts. Creamers often have artificial flavors, sweeteners, and other additives, so you're better off using organic milk or cream plus organic brown sugar," she says.