Tips for becoming a mindful eater in 2019

This time of year can be overwhelming when it comes to food, especially if you are focused on losing some weight to improve your health in the longer term. In recent years, mindful eating has emerged as a tool to help people achieve a healthier relationship with food. It can empower individuals to make choices for their own best interest, with a focus on eating healthier for the purposes of health in general as well as for supporting a weight loss goal.

Instead of trying the next fad diet which we know can lead to restrictive eating and weight regain for many, listen to your body and mind and reflect on the habits you have and how you are feeling throughout the day, this can help to tune you in to a more mindful approach to eating.

Mindful Eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.
  • Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

 Ten Tips for Mindful Eating

  1. Plan shopping expeditions and always keep to what is on your shopping list.
  2. Avoid shopping for food when hungry.
  3. Eat meals at a pre-set time. Time meals to occur when you are regularly hungry.
  4. Do not engage in any other activity while eating, like watching T.V. or reading; make it an experience in itself.
  5. Confine eating to a specified place in the house e.g. kitchen table
  6. Never eat directly from containers; always place food on a plate. Do not leave serving dishes containing food on the table.
  7. Limit the amount of bingeable food in the house. Always put food away in cupboards out of sight.
  8. Savour your food, concentrate on its flavour. Chew slowly and use your senses to explore and savour the texture, smell, and flavour. Put the fork down between each bite of food.
  9. Prepare a list of alternative activities, incompatible with eating, for times when you know that you are going to be at greatest risk. For example, phoning a friend, going for a run or walk, taking a bath and so on.
  10. Listen to your body. Are you hungry or thirsty – don’t mistake thirst for hunger, sometimes all you need may be a drink of water to stay hydrated instead of a snack.

From the Dietitians at Croí

Annoucing the winners of the 2018 Croí Golden Ticket Draw

Huge congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Croí Golden Ticket Draw!

1st prize, €2,000 – winner is Arthur Foden, Wicklow
2nd prize, €1,000 – winner is Phil Flannery, Salthill
3rd prize, €500 – winner is Patrick McCallion, Co Donegal
4th prize, €250 – winner is Alan Keane, Sligo
5th prize, €250 – winner is Catherine Magee, Donegal
6th – 15th prize, €100 – winners are Adrian Kelly, Co Kildare; Joan Reidy, Galway; Patrick O’Halloran, Co Clare; Sarah Small, Galway; Marcello Chaves, Co. Kerry; Conor Bohan, Co Galway; Mary McManaman, Co. Mayo; Donald McGann, Co. Galway; Michael Corcoran, Co Galway; and Claudia Loughnane, Co Clare.

The Croí Golden Ticket draw took place this afternoon (Dec 18) at 3pm in Croí House, with a total prize fund of €5,000.

Thank you so much to all our supporters who purchased tickets. Your support helps fund the Courtyard Apartment at Croí, which have been specifically designed for short-term stays to allow family members to be as close as possible to patients who are in hospital for heart or stroke care in Galway University Hospital.

Winning project helps family carers in Galway learn a live-saving skill

Croí Heart & Stroke Charity, in collaboration with the HSE Social Care Services Galway, won the Innovative Project Category at the inaugural HSE Community Healthcare West Staff Recognition Awards on October 25, 2018.

The winning project has delivered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillation (AED) training to hundreds of family carers in Galway over the past seven years, and was recognised for providing a valuable, innovate service to Community Healthcare West.

Michelle Harrison, Manager, Carers Department, Community Healthcare West states: “Over two-thirds of all Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests occurred at home in Ireland in 2017, and survivors were more likely to have received bystander CPR. When a person collapses with sudden cardiac arrest, every second is vital. Performing CPR and using a defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death in many cases. For every minute a person is collapsed without receiving CPR or defibrillation, the person’s chance of survival is reduced by up to 10 per cent per minute. After five minutes, the person’s chance of survival is reduced by up to 50 per cent. The role of lay persons including family carers in the internationally recognised ‘Chain of Survival’ is well acknowledged, and includes, early recognition, immediate effective CPR and rapid defibrillation. It takes a whole system to save a life, and this training initiative spearheaded by the HSE Carers Department and Croí, is integral to ensuring that family carers are key contributors to this whole system approach to save a life”.

“Galway is the only county in Ireland where specific funding for such life-saving training is provided to family carers. We’re delighted to partner with the HSE Carers Department, and grateful to see the work recognised at the HSE staff recognition awards. Congratulations to our excellent Croí instructors Catherine Sheridan and Sarah Molloy for their expertise and dedication to this project,” says Neil Johnson, Chief Executive, Croí.

Family carers can learn more about the training courses by contacting Croí at 091-544310.

From left: Michelle Harrison, HSE West Carers Dept. Manager; Catherine Sheridan, Croí Training Site Coordinator; & Neil Johnson, CEO, Croí.

Stay on track this Christmas

The festive season should be enjoyed, but with temptations all around we may need that extra bit of motivation to avoid overindulging.

Here are some ways to enjoy this holiday season while staying on track with your health goals.


Fill up with Fruit & Vegetables

Remember to enjoy the in season freshness of brussel sprouts, parsnips, sweet potato, satsumas, cranberries and other favourites. Bursting with a plentiful supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our bodies need to fend off the cold winter bugs and infections. They are also high in fibre helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer. You may even meet your 5 a day from your dinner plate alone!


Less Sugar & More Spice in All Things Nice

Replace some of the sugar you eat with traditional Christmas spices for fabulous flavour and some can even help soothe digestive upsets such as ginger & cinnamon.


Cut down on portion sizes

Many traditional foods at this time of year such as the lean meat in turkey, root vegetables like carrots and parsnips and cranberry sauce are actually low in fat but it is the trimmings, extra helpings and constant nibbling that piles on the pounds. So use a smaller plate and don’t feel you have to clear it. Also leave some time before going for more as it can take our bodies 20 minutes to realise that we are full.


Stay active

Festive gatherings are not all about food. If we are eating more food, then we need to move more to prevent weight gain. Meet up with friends/family for nice fresh walks or show some moves on the dance floor and do not forget that kids and animals need play time and the fresh air too!


Get a good night’s sleep

The party season can be exhausting and if we are tired and low in energy, it can be so much easier to be less active and indulge in the high sugar and high fat foods. Ensure you are getting enough sleep to enable your body to fully recharge so it is ready to rumble again the next day.


Healthier Food Swaps to keep you feeling Merry & Bright All Season Long…


  • 50g creamy/cheesy dips for 50g salsa (Saving 13g fat, 111kcal)
  • 1 large (70g) chicken goujon for 2 mini chicken satay skewers (Saving 6g fat, 137kcal)
  • 2 small sausage rolls for 2 cocktail sausages (Saving 1g fat, 24kcal)
  • 1 (50g) vegetable samosa for 1 ball (17g) of falafel (Saving 2.5g fat, 61kcal)
  • 2 cheese straws for 1 large breadstick (Saving 6g fat, 75kcal)
  • 25g crackers for 25g of vegetable sticks (Saving 5g fat, 110kcal)
  • 30g Stilton cheese for 30g goat’s cheese (Saving 4g fat, 67kcal)
  • 100g sausage stuffing for 100g chestnut/fruit based stuffing (Saving 15.2g Fat, 90kcal)
  • 100g roast potatoes for 100g Boiled Potatoes (Saving 4.4g Fat, 40kcal)
  • 1tbsp brandy butter for 3tbsp low fat custard (Saving 5.2g fat, 54kcal)
  • 2tbsp double cream for 2tbsp Greek yoghurt (Saving 14.2g Fat, 117kcal)
  • Luxury bread sauce for bread sauce made with semi-skimmed milk (Saving 262kcal)
  • 1 tsp butter/oil on vegetables for herbs/spices/lemon zest to flavour vegetables (Saving 4.1g fat, 37kcal)
  • 150ml Bailey’s for 150ml white wine (Saving 19g fat, 340kcal)
  • 200ml hot chocolate with whole milk & cream for 200ml Hot Chocolate with semi-skimmed milk & mini marshmallows (Saving 9g fat, 42kcal)


Have a healthy and happy Christmas!

Niamh Arthurs, Student Dietitian

International Volunteer Day

Thank you, Team Croí

Charities change the world and people’s lives but they would not survive without their supporters!

Today is International Volunteer Day and we want to thank our wonderful volunteers and acknowledge the vital role our volunteers play in making sure Croí can continue to provide vital services to people who need them.

International Volunteer day was launched by the United Nations to celebrate the spirit of volunteering. It’s an opportunity for volunteers and organisations to raise awareness of and gain an understanding for the contribution they make to their communities.

Volunteering is one of those good things that everyone loves! Charities love it because they believe in the power of doing good. And, according to all the research, the volunteers themselves love it because it makes them feel good. Researchers have identified something called “helper’s high”, and many studies have found that over 70% of volunteers feel better or healthier after helping out.

And it gets better… Did you know that some studies have found that volunteering for at least 200 hours per year (4 hours a week) dramatically lowers blood pressure in older adults? We are totally behind that!

Our wonderful volunteers support us in so many ways, including fundraising, event coordination, health promotion and public awareness. Thank you for taking the time to support Croí and helping us in the fight against heart disease and stroke.

#TeamCroí – we could not do it without you.[/vc_column_text]


Top tips for healthy cooking

Below are some tips to help tweak your favourite recipes to make them healthier and still taste great!

  1. Watch the fats
    If frying, use a good non-stick pan and dry fry (e.g. in the case of mince). Leaving out the oil could cut 45 calories per teaspoon in your meal. If your food is drying out, don’t add more oil, add a little water. Use fats and oils that are high in good fats (poly- and mono-unsaturated fats), e.g. olive oil/rapeseed oil and try using less than the recipe suggests.
  2. Cut down on salt
    Most recipes indicate that you need to add salt or stock cubes.  Replace salt with alternative seasonings such as pepper, herbs, spices, lemon juice, vinegar or mustard. Use a reduced salt stock cube or half the amount stated in the recipe. Allow people to season their own food after tasting it – they are likely to add less.
  3. Cut down on sugar
    Experiment by using less sugar when you bake – most cakes will work even if the quantity of sugar in the recipe is halved. Items such as fruit cakes, fruit scones and tea breads can be made without adding sugar as the dried fruit will provide sweetness.
  4. Increase fibre
    Use brown alternatives of rice, pasta and bread to increase the fibre content of recipes which will help you feel fuller for longer. Instead of using all plain white flour in recipes, use a mix of wholemeal and plain flour when baking, e.g. when making apple crumble – you can also add porridge oats to make the top crunchy and add more fibre! Top dishes usually requiring pastry, such as chicken pie, with mashed potato instead.
  5. Soups and stews
    Allow your broth, stew or soup to cool and skim off the fat that gathers on top of the liquid. Replacing some of the traditional fatty meats in stews with pulses like peas, beans and lentils can save calories and fat as well as adding fibre.
  6. Sauces and dips
    Replace cream, whole milk and sour cream with semi-skimmed and skimmed milk, or low fat yoghurt. Low fat yoghurt and fromage frais can be used on hot or cold puddings and in dips instead of cream, double cream or Greek yoghurt. Fromage frais is fresh, skimmed cow’s milk cheese but is more like natural yoghurt. It is not suitable for use in cooking.
  7. Cheese
    Use strongly flavoured cheeses like mature cheddar or blue cheese in savoury dishes – you can use less and still get all the flavour. If you don’t like the strong taste of such cheeses simply use low fat alternatives of your favourites. Grate cheese instead of slicing as it will spread across a dish more easily and you can use less. Replace cream cheese with low fat cream cheese.
  8. Mayonnaise
    Replace mayonnaise in salads with natural yoghurt or low fat fromage frais. Better still, try using vinaigrette dressings and serving them on the side. When making sandwiches, choose low fat mayonnaise or butter, not both.
  9. Vegetables
    Flavour cooked vegetables with herbs instead of butter or oil. Replace some meat in dishes such as shepherd’s pie, casseroles and lasagne, with vegetables and pulses (peas, beans and lentils). It is a great way to disguise vegetables for those fussy eaters.
  10. Meat
    Trim the fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry before cooking. Then bake, grill, microwave, roast or poach instead of frying it. When roasting, place the meat on a grill rack – this allows the fat to drip away. If you are cooking minced meat, brown it and drain away the fat before adding other ingredients

Repost from For more tips on healthy cooking and 30 minute meal ideas, check out the website.

Croí supports Achill community with heart monitoring equipment

The GPs on Achill Island recently took delivery of a Cardiac Holter Monitor, which is a useful piece of cardiac equipment used by doctors to monitor a patient’s heart rhythms. This important diagnostic tool will facilitate patients on Achill Island, Clare Island and Inishbiggle to gain access to earlier diagnosis of potential heart problems.

The Holter Monitor, valued at €2,250, was donated by local heart and stroke charity Croí for use in the Achill, Clare Island and Inishbiggle communities. These communities have been constant supporters of the fundraising efforts of Croí since 1991. The local Croí Friends committee, which is led by John P. McGinty, have a long-standing programme of fundraising activities each year, including a bumper whist drive each Shrove Tuesday, pub collections and the sale of Croí Christmas cards.