How to keep on top of your heart health!

This week marks the beginning of Irish heart month in association with the Irish Heart Foundation. Here at maternity & infant we’re super keen on keeping our tickers ticking over with good, healthy food and intermittent bouts of high-intensity exercise. But all this can be tough to keep to when there’s a new baby in the house, or a few kiddies getting under foot or a pregnancy to see through. So we’ve come up with some simple ways to incorporate healthy habits into our daily (and hectic!) lives!

Heart disease explained

Heart disease or cardiovascular disease is a very serious health condition that keeps the blood vessels from working properly. Usually present in the form of a blockage, it stops oxygenated blood from reaching key areas of the body.

And although some people can be born with forms of CVD, most people develop CVD as a result of poor lifestyle, eating unhealthy foods, and smoking.

How can you and your family be more heart healthy in your lives?

Food

Make it easy for your body and start the day with a nutritious breakfast. Porridge and fresh fruit, a smoothie, or poached eggs on whole grain toast are good options to refuel the body after sleep and get your brains ready for the day ahead.

Don’t reward your children (or yourselves) for that matter with food. Use praise instead to reward their actions and successes in life. Too often we resort to a chocolate bar to celebrate an achievement, but also to soothe a hurt. Let your words and actions do the talking, not your food.

Let them help

Let the kids help and prepare one meal a week. This can be as simple as having them in the kitchen with you to stir, gather or sort veggies, but having them there will teach them about cooking and healthy food prep at a young age.

Family dinner

Eat together as a family as much as possible. This limits ‘binge eating’ tendencies and slows the meal down, giving the brain time to tell the body that it’s full and satisfied.

Fluids

Drink plenty of fluids like water or milk. Avoid sugary juices and soft drinks.

Portion sizes

This is an area that a lot of people can get stuck on, often eating way more than their body needs. When serving your kids, remember that a five-year-old needs about half as much food as an adult does. Use child sized plates and cutlery to make it easier when doling out portions.

Remember that both yours and your child’s plates should be made up as follows:

  • ½ the plate should be covered by colourful vegetables
  • ¼ the plate should be covered by your protein choice
  • ¼ the plate should be covered by complex carbohydrates

For more on food portion sizes read here.

Clean plates don’t matter

Forget what your mother told you, your child is perfectly allowed to leave some food on his or her plate if they’re not hungry anymore. It shows that they know their body and preferences. If you’re out in a restaurant, ask if you can bring it home to have later.

Be active together

Get the whole family out to the park on an evening before it gets too dark and play a rousing game of tag or football. Your kids will enjoy spending time with you, and you’ll get the benefit of an added workout!

maternity & infant
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