Wholicious living

Treat yourself the healthy way for Mothers Day banner
Treat yourself the healthy way for Mothers Day banner

Treat yourself the healthy way for Mothers Day

On Mother’s Day, mums across Australia will be feeling the love in the shape of cards, flowers and special treats. That’s great, but how much love are we mums showing ourselves?

What about you?

In the rush to get the kids out of the door, who among us can truly say she's never skipped breakfast, grabbed a coffee to stay alert, eaten a snatched lunch or just ignored her body’s hungry signals? Then the lolly jar gets raided mid-afternoon, and we overeat in the evening to compensate.

How a busy mum can eat well throughout the day

Mornings

A great way to avoid this scenario is to eat smaller, evenly spaced meals throughout the day. This will give your body enough slow-release fuel to keep you going, and help keep those hunger pains at bay.

It doesn’t mean rearranging your meal routine. You could start the day with some wholemeal toast spread with avocado instead of butter, or a bowl of wholegrain cereal. If you’re tempted mid-morning by mouth-watering muffins, pick an alternative like wholegrain rice cakes with reduced-fat cheese or hummus, or a mix of natural popcorn, nuts and dried fruit. Or a piece of fresh fruit - it's one of the most convenient snacks you can have!

Afternoons

At lunchtime, go for a combination of carbohydrate and protein rich foods like this cheese and pecan wrap, to help thwart that mid-afternoon energy slump. Carbohydrates give you glucose for energy, and protein helps keep your mind alert. So shun the post-lunch lollies and try pairing an apple with nut butter, low-fat yoghurt with a swirl of honey, or chopped grapes with a little dark chocolate. That way, you’re less likely to want a supersized evening meal.

So when your kids spoil you on Mother’s Day, it’ll be an even happier and healthier mum they’re showering with love!

 
 
 
Daily handful of nuts can keep your heart healthy banner
Daily handful of nuts can keep your heart healthy banner

Daily handful of nuts can keep your heart healthy

Heart disease (including heart attack and stroke) is New Zealand’s biggest killer, causing 6,000 deaths each year. That’s one New Zealander death every 90 minutes.

However, more research is showing that a daily handful of nuts can keep your heart happy and ticking for longer.

In fact, a recent review showed that if you eat ¼ cup (about 30 g) of unsalted nuts each day, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 27%! Or by 31% if peanuts are consumed.

Another reputable study showed that it’s possible to reduce your risk of death from chronic diseases like heart disease by up to 20% if nuts are eaten 7 or more times each week.

When it comes to your waistline, studies show that a regular intake of nuts does not change your weight. In fact, those who consume nuts daily have a slimmer waistline, experience less weight gain, and have a lower risk of being overweight or obese.

Unfortunately, New Zealanders aren’t eating enough nuts. Nut consumption predicted from the latest New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey shows that New Zealanders consume just 5.2g of nuts per day! This is far short of the 30g recommended serve in the New Zealand Eating and Activity Guidelines.

Why are nuts so good?

Nuts are good at protecting you and your heart because they contain good sources of fibre, polyunsaturated fats, magnesium, vitamin E and antioxidants.

Fibre: can reduce your blood cholesterol levels by catching cholesterol in your gut and stopping it from being absorbed into your blood stream.
Polyunsaturated fats: help keep your LDL (bad) cholesterol low.
Magnesium: helps keep your heart muscle healthy, improves stress control, and can reduce sudden cardiac death.
Vitamin E: is a powerful antioxidant that can help capture lone molecules or ‘free radicals’ that can cause damage and inflammation in your heart and blood vessels.

Have nuts, peanuts, and other plant foods too

When choosing nuts, make sure they’re fresh and unsalted. Also aim for a variety, including almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans and macadamias. And don’t forget to eat some peanuts too (sometimes classified as a nut but they're actually a legume). And try these ideas in our Nuts and nutrition article for easy ways to include more nuts into your diet.

If you include a variety of wholegrains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits in your diet too, your risk of heart disease can be reduced even further. Adding regular exercise and movement to your day will also keep your heart strong, and support good blood flow.

How do I know if my heart is at risk?

Heart disease is a serious health concern and can kill without notice. So watch your heart by getting regular weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol checks with your doctor. If you’ve got high cholesterol, high blood pressure, if you’re overweight or obese, a smoker, or have an inactive lifestyle, then it’s likely that your heart may be in need of some urgent care. There's more info on heart health, in our Heart healthy living article.