Hey moms: If you have young children, you’d do anything to make sure they grow up healthy. But sometimes, being the best parent you can be means putting your own needs first – especially when it comes to your health.
If your only “me time” comes at 10 p.m. – after work, carpooling, meal prep and everything else is done – it’s time to rethink. (You too, dads, but we’re focusing on women this month.)
Finding time to eat well and be active can create a positive energy balance, reduce stress and boost your mood. Plus, a healthy lifestyle helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, the #1 killer of women in Canada.
Here are five key ways to take care of yourself. Your children will thank you.
- Eat breakfast Without it, your body is running on empty. Include foods high in heart-loving fibre, which helps ensure healthy cholesterol levels and combats cardiovascular disease. Enjoy fruit or whole grain cereal; try Steel cut oatmeal with dates or Morning glory breakfast bars. Avoid pastries – sugary foods spike blood glucose levels and leave you feeling sluggish by mid morning. .
Get at least seven servings of vegetables and fruit every day (one serving is a half-cup). Fresh produce is chock-full of heart-protective nutrients such as potassium, B-vitamins and antioxidants. Plus, vegetables contain energizing carbohydrates, which are digested slowly to fuel your body and brain. And don’t forget your power as a role model: If you want the kids to eat broccoli, you have to eat it too.
- Choose fewer processed foods They tend to be high in sodium, trans fat, sugar and refined flour, which wreak havoc on your blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Eat and serve wholesome foods like lean meat and fish, whole grains vegetables, and fruit.
- Be active Working activity into your day will boost your energy, ensure some me time and make you feel great. These 10-minute-workouts are a great way to get started – and 10 minutes can provide real heart benefits. Bonus: If your children see exercise as a regular part of your life, they’re more likely to make activity a habit too.
- Take a break Have lunch with a friend, share a laugh with a colleague or take a coffee break. Set aside at least 10 minutes during the day to collect your thoughts, relax and breathe. It will refresh your spirit, create renewed focus and help you be a better parent. .
Visit The Heart Truth to learn why more women need to put themselves first.
© – Reproduced with permission of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2012