Croí Dietitian Tips for a healthy Festive Season!

by Croí's lead dietitian, Suzanne Seery

Be Consistent in Your Eating Habits
Maintaining a regular meal pattern throughout the festive season can help prevent over-eating at meal times or snacking. By sticking to regular meals, you can enjoy a few treats and achieve a healthy balance.

“All foods fit, it’s the portion size that matters!”
A healthy relationship with food comes from being less restrictive and enjoying all food groups. You can enjoy larger portions of healthy foods while still being able to enjoy smaller portions of the treats you love.

Combat Stress with Good Mood Food
As much as we love Christmas, it can be a stressful time. Eating your veggies is key in helping manage stress and helping your immune system fight off the dreaded cold and flu! Vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins can be depleted with stress. Vegetables that are in plenty supply over Christmas such as cabbage, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are a super source of these nutrients.

Less Sugar & More Spice
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.

Be Mindful in Your Eating
This is the perfect time of year to practice mindful eating. With all the work that goes into preparing meals at Christmas, once you are sitting at the table, take a moment to slow down and relax. Take a breath, enjoy the sensation of the food in your mouth. Slowly chew each mouthful savouring the flavour and texture. Slowing our eating has been clinically proven to help prevent over-eating and indigestion.

Go Easy on the Alcohol
Although it may make us feel a bit merry at the time, alcohol can affect our skin, cause bloating and bloodshot eyes. It can also affect our mood and mental health.  Try adding some sparkling water to your wine to make a spritzer, choose bottles of beer and lower alcohol options instead of pints. Watch those Christmas cocktails too, they can be very high in sugar. Choose slimline tonic or sparking water as a mixer. Alternating with a tall glass of sparkling water with ice and some citrus slices can be just as refreshing and enjoyable!

Beware of the Buffet
Christmas parties bring with them platters of plenty. If heading out for a Christmas event, try and stick to your routine during the day as much as possible and have a light snack or meal beforehand. This will help curb your intake of  high fat, sugar and salt snacks that are usually served up this time of year. Have a little of what you fancy and enjoy it!

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.

Show off Your Christmas Moves
Whether it’s getting out for a walk, taking a dip or going for a bike ride, make time for some exercise over the Christmas. Going for a walk in a local park is a great way to catch up with friends! Now is also a good time to set yourself an exercise challenge for the New Year. Fun runs are great events to get involved in. Your local county Sports partnerships website should provide details of sporting events in your area.

Looking for an activity to take part in over the Christmas? Why not join Croí Friends in Annaghdown for their Annual St. Stephen’s Day Turkey Fun Run!

Healthy Christmas swaps!

Swap:

  • 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)
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Have heart this Christmas and send Croí cards!

Croí, the Heart and Stroke Charity, launched its stunning 2019 Christmas Card Collection this week, available to purchase in local shops and online at www.croi.ie/ChristmasCards. Send a Croí card this Christmas and show real heart, while supporting families affected by heart disease and stroke in your local community.

New this year is an image from Co. Mayo of Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s Holy Mountain. Paddy Finn’s photo of a snowy Long Walk is a top favourite, along with Nathan Wynne’s images from the Galway Christmas Market.

Each pack of Croí cards contains 12 new designs this year, including photographs from local, Galway photographers. All cards carry Christmas greetings in both Irish and English. The pack costs just €6.99, with all proceeds supporting the fight against heart disease and stroke.

The 2019 Croí Christmas cards are available to purchase in local shops, including Joyce’s Supermarkets, Evergreen Healthfoods, Headlines Newsagent and Matt O’Flaherty Chemists. See the full list of locations or purchase the cards online at www.croi.ie/ChristmasCards.

Music: Wish Background Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Support Croí this Christmas!

“The loss of conversation has been one of the hardest things…
but sometimes John will say a word and it will make me smile.” – Mary Kelly

Take part in Croí’s Golden Ticket Raffle and help stroke survivors like John find their voice again. Great cash prizes to be won and you can make a huge difference to life after stroke.

It was Christmas eight years ago that everything changed for the Kelly Family. John Kelly, then a 48-year-old Garda Sergeant based in Loughrea, Co. Galway, suffered a massive, life-changing stroke. John was rushed to Galway University Hospital and he spent the next 18 weeks receiving care across three more hospitals. “It was a very exhausting time, and we had Santa come in the middle of that! I tried to make things as normal as possible for the children,” says Mary, John’s wife, speaking of their four children – the eldest twins were 13 years old and the youngest was just 6 years old.

Eventually, John returned home to his family in Cregmore, Co. Galway, but he was faced with the long-term effects of stroke. John suffered severe speech impairments, affecting how he speaks and his ability to understand what is being said. He was left with very few words.

John needed help. But so too did Mary, as a stroke carer.

“A family member read online about Croí’s Stroke Support services and we knew we had to get involved. John started with the Gentle Yoga class, before joining the Stroke Support Group and the Stroke Communication Group,” says Mary.

John now receives specialist support from the Croí Health Team, including biweekly communication sessions with Libby Kinneen, our Speech and Language Therapist. John first met Libby five years ago and he has made real progress in gaining confidence with life after stroke. “More words… friends,” says John. Mary also attends Croí as part of the Stroke Carers Group, “It’s so great to meet like-minded people. For my sanity it was so necessary to talk to other people. Life after stroke is so lonely, you feel isolated… Croí is a place to come and feel relaxed, and where no one will judge you.”

A huge milestone in John’s speech work with Libby was actually being able to say the word ‘Ballybofey’, a really important word for John as it is his wife’s hometown. “It meant something to John and Mary,” says Libby. The ‘Ballybofey’ breakthrough gave John confidence in his speech.

“Croí’s Communication Group has been wonderful for John,” says Mary. “Sometimes John will say a word and it will make me smile. But he might never say it again. The loss of conversation has been one of the hardest things.”

With thanks to generous donors, Croí is able to offer free stroke support services to stroke survivors, their family members and their carers. These services are totally supported by the funds we raise every year, including through the Golden Ticket Raffle!

Will you support our annual raffle and help us continue to support stroke survivors and their families, like the Kellys? Each ticket costs just €5 and there are so many great cash prizes to win, with a total prize fund of €5,000!

Tickets can be purchased here.

Thank you for your support!

John Kelly with his wife, Mary Kelly
John Kelly with his wife, Mary Kelly
The Kelly Family
The Kelly Family